ITV has been warned over Piers Morgan's "combative presenting" after Good Morning Britain avoided an Ofcom investigation.
The regulator gave the channel a slap on the wrists in a report released today after Piers was accused of "mocking Chinese people".
Although it ruled not to pursue a full investigation, an Ofcom spokesman said: “We remind ITV that there are compliance risks in relying on a ‘combative dynamic’ between presenters as a way to provide challenge and context for the broadcast of content which may cause offence.
“This approach can provide significant context, as in this case.
“However, depending on the particular circumstances, this may not always provide sufficient context to comply with the code.”
Show host Piers came under fire on January 21 for mimicking a Chinese accent while commenting on Princess Anne's son Peter Phillips' advert for a Chinese milk brand.
Discussing the advert with co-host Susanna Reid, he said: "I like Peter Phillips. I met him at a lunch last year, but that is not a good look for the royals.
"Flogging Chinese State-owned milk – it’s a state-owned dairy farm.
"The big question for Meghan and Harry in their brave new world where they think it’s going to be ethical and lovely, but people are going to be chucking millions at them like Peter Phillips because he’s royal.
"He’s a nice guy, he’s not a HRH – the problem is other people. All these actors go to China to do these terrible ads thinking we’d never see them and Peter thinks the same."
Piers continued: "Oh Peter for God’s sake man. This is the problem – people want association with the royals, they want to exploit them. He should be flogging milk made here.
"What's the name of it? Ching chong ching?"
An exasperated Susanna Reid told him: "Taking the Mickey out of foreign languages is rather 1970s."
In Ofcom's report it said Susanna’s interventions “gave some challenge to Piers Morgan’s mimicry of the Chinese language and provided some mitigation to the potential offence”.
After the incident, ITV issued a statement claiming Piers, 54, did not mean to denigrate, but it did "regret" any offence caused after the 1,589 complaints.
Ofcom welcomed the apology and revealed they'd discussed the complaints with Piers.
The regulator said: “This was a finely balanced decision in which Ofcom had to take careful account of the right to freedom of expression, and the degree to which these comments had the potential to cause offence, particularly to viewers of Chinese heritage.”
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