Belfast Telegraph

DUP's Jim Wells to complain to Ofcom over Piers Morgan GMB appearance

Jim Wells MLA said he'll miss Strictly, but will watch Casualty instead.
Jim Wells MLA said he'll miss Strictly, but will watch Casualty instead.

DUP MLA Jim Wells is to complain to broadcasting regulator Ofcom over his treatment on ITV's Good Morning Britain saying he was "savaged" by presenter Piers Morgan.

Mr Wells was trending on social media throughout the day after a bruising encounter with presenters Morgan and Susanna Reid on ITV's morning news and current affairs programme.

The South Down representative has had the party whip withdrawn and the DUP has pointed out he does not speak on its behalf.

He appeared on the programme on Tuesday morning to discuss his objection to the BBC opening the door to same-sex couples on Strictly Come Dancing.

He said the last thing a family wanted on a Saturday evening was to be faced with "deep intellectual questions" when what they were after was light entertainment.

Former tabloid editor Morgan called the MLA "an old bigoted dinosaur" during the feisty exchanges.

During the debate Mr Wells also said his views are not a “repressed” thing after Morgan told him: “Most people who have this weirdly anti-gay sentiment at some stage in their life have had a ‘feeling’.”

After the politician claimed he was being insulted by Morgan, the broadcaster replied: “I’m not insulting you, I’m insulting your bigotry, which is irrational, inconsistent, makes no sense whatsoever, your favourite shows have loads of gay presenters on, there’s a gay judge on Strictly, you think that’s fine but you won’t have two people – who may not even be gay – dancing together.”

Jim Wells asked the broadcaster if he should not be more impartial.

"How can you be impartial about homosexuality?" replied Ms Reid.

Mr Wells told the News Letter the interview was “absolutely disgraceful” and he would be lodging a complaint.

“Ofcom, here we come," he said.

In an email to ITV - and seen by the Belfast Telegraph, he said in his 38 years of media experience he had never made a complaint of such a nature.

He said the presenters conduct left him "humiliated".

“There were two people on the panel, there was another guy there to speak as well, but he didn’t get a look in because I was absolutely savaged because of Piers Morgan’s bias on the issue," he told the News Letter.

“I am making a formal complaint. I’ve been at this business 45 years and I am well used to the rough and tumble of it, but I simply can’t allow this to go uncontested. It was entirely antagonistic the whole way through. I have been through the mill many times but I know when I have been treated unfairly.”

He continued: “They brought me on to deliberately denigrate everything that I stand for. That’s fine, so long as there’s balance, so long as the same level of vitriol is directed at both sides.”

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