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Piers Morgan will not face Ofcom investigation after nearly 1,000 viewers complained about him identifying ‘as a penguin’

Emma Powys Maurice November 5, 2019

Piers Morgan said he identifies as a "two spirit penguin." (Good Morning Britain)

Piers Morgan has been cleared by Ofcom after he received almost 1,000 official complaints for saying he identified ‘as a two-spirit penguin’.

The controversial Good Morning Britain presenter will not face an investigation for the offensive comments, which led to more than 33,000 people signing a petition calling for him to be axed from the show.

Piers Morgan made the remark in a live TV debate about a BBC film that said there are more than 100 genders.

After watching a clip of the film, Morgan shouted: “Shut up! Shut up, you people. Let me tell you some of these gender names: Neutrois, pangender, polygender, two-spirit person, transmasculine… What’s a two-spirit person?”

When his co-host Susanna Reid tried to explain the Native American term “two-spirit”, he cut her off and shouted: “What’s wrong with male and female?”

Reid asked: “Can’t people be what they want to be?”

“No, they can’t. OK, alright, I’m a penguin. I’m a penguin. Identifying as a two spirit penguin,” Morgan replied, in reference to a story about a gender-neutral baby penguin being raised by a lesbian penguin couple at the London Aquarium.

gender neutral penguin chick
The chick is the aquarium’s first Gentoo penguin to not have its gender assigned. (Sea Life London)

Morgan’s angry rant continued: “Everyone happy with that? Two-spirit, gender-neutral, pangender, genderfluid, femme penguin… That’s where the world is going, folks, you can basically put your hand up and say whatever the hell you like.

“I’m going to the aquarium today… and I’m going to demand to be put into the penguin enclosure because I’m now identifying as a penguin… That’s what I am and there’s nothing any of you can do about it.”

His words were the final straw for thousands of LGBT+ advocates, who called for Morgan to be fired for his persistent “dehumanising” treatment of trans people.

As the rate of transphobic hate crimes continues to rise in England and Wales, ITV was accused of “actively choosing to promote an insidious agenda against transgender people (and minorities in general)”, by keeping Piers Morgan on the show, “as through his choice of language he regularly berates and mocks those who do not identify in a way he is willing to comprehend.”

In total, Ofcom received 950 complaints about Morgan’s comments on transgender people – by far the highest number of complaints out of all TV shows broadcast between 17 and 24 October 2019.

The show launched a poll asking if the divisive presenter should be fired over his views on gender, but it backfired after 60 percent of the half a million voters agreed that he should be sacked.

Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on Good Morning Britain (YouTube)

But after assessing the show Ofcom has ruled that Morgan “did not raise issues warranting investigation”.

In a statement, the regulator told HuffPost UK: “We carefully considered complaints from viewers who felt that the presenter’s comments ridiculed gender identity issues.

“While the presenter’s remarks offended some viewers, we took into account his later expression of support and respect for a transgender guest. The programme also featured a range of gender-related discussions, during which another presenter provided further context by arguing that people had the right to choose how they identify.

“However, we’ve reminded ITV that strong views on issues such as sex or gender reassignment should be presented with care.”

More: gender neutral penguin, good morning britain, ITV, Ofcom, piers morgan

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