By Benjamin Cooper and Kerri-Ann Roper, PA reporters
Piers Morgan has said he wants to “uncancel those who have been cancelled” and branded his departure from ITV last year a “farce” as he prepares to launch fledgling news channel TalkTV.
The former tabloid editor left ITV after storming off the set of Good Morning Britain when he said he did not believe Meghan’s claims from her Oprah Winfrey interview.
His comments sparked more than 50,000 complaints, the most in Ofcom’s history, but the watchdog ruled that Good Morning Britain was not in breach of the broadcasting code over Morgan’s controversial comments.
TalkTV will launch with shows from Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and Tom Newton Dunn on Monday April 25.
“I thought the whole thing was a farce and I’m delighted that actually, as a result of the farce, we’ve ended up with a whole network which is now dedicated to preventing that kind of farce from recurring,” Morgan said.
“You shouldn’t be shamed or vilified or cancelled for having an opinion, unless you genuinely are spewing hateful bigoted stuff,” he added, speaking ahead of the channel launch.
“I don’t intend to do that; I’ve never done that before in my broadcasting time. I want to be a broad church to any kind of view.”
Speaking alongside Osbourne, who appeared via video from the US, he explained: “I want to re-platform those who’ve been de-platformed.
“I want to uncancel those who have been cancelled. I want to basically make a point that cancel culture is as dangerous to society, in its own way, in terms of its attack on free speech and freedom of expression as coronavirus has been.
“And could be over the next few years and decades actually more dangerous.
“So, I think if a democracy, like ours, or America or Australia, where this show will be airing, if a democracy loses that sense of what free speech means, and stops defending an individual’s right to an opinion, you’re not a democracy.
“This show, I hope, and the network will be standing up for democracy.”
Osbourne will appear on hour-long panel debate show The Talk, which will air at 9pm.
She said: “This is a whole new thing for me to be involved in the beginning of a network and to be on a network that doesn’t stand for one thing.
“Because usually, and especially here in America, a network stands for the right or the left, or whatever it is. This is just basically the news with different people’s views on it, by experts mainly, I’m not an expert, but I’ve definitely got an opinion on everything.
“It’s new, it’s innovative, it’s a place for everyone that’s interested in what’s happening in the world to go to, without being told what they should be thinking.
“We’re not telling anybody that they shouldn’t be thinking the way we think, we’re just expressing and opening up the conversation for people to take on even at home after we finish talking.”
She left US chat show The Talk, which aired on CBS, following an on-air row with her co-host Sheryl Underwood, after the pair clashed in March 2021 while discussing Morgan’s comments about the Duchess of Sussex’s interview with Winfrey.
Osbourne defended Morgan from allegations of racism, with the fallout prompting The Talk to take a month-long hiatus.
Following the Ofcom ruling last year, ITV said in a statement: “The ruling sets out clearly that it was the balance and context the programme makers provided which was key in mitigating against the potential for harm and offence which could have been caused by Piers Morgan’s comments.
“It is because of the programme’s editorial decisions and the opposing views which were forcefully expressed by other presenters and guests that the programme did not breach Ofcom’s rules.”
TalkTV is the newest venture from News UK and will air on linear TV platforms as well as online services such as Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and YouTube.
The show will use News UK’s stable of journalists including The Times’ political team, The Sun’s showbiz desk and talkSPORT correspondents.
Morgan will appear on his global show Uncensored at 8pm on April 25, broadcasting from studio facilities in Ealing, west London.
The show will air on Fox Nation in the US and Sky News Australia.