British TV host Piers Morgan has become the subject of backlash from Christians after reportedly asking a Christian magistrate if he was a homophobe.
A total of 70 complaints were filed against Morgan after an interview with Christian former magistrate Richard Page on Good Morning Britain, Christianity Today reports. During the March interview, Page expressed his opposition to same-sex marriage.
"So you're a homophobe, then?" Morgan responded, according to Christian Today.
Some viewers took issue with Morgan's question, saying he was discriminating against Christians and implying that all Christians were homophobic.
Page previously was fired from his position as magistrate when he expressed his opposition to adoption by same-sex couples. Page was removed because he was found to be "biased and prejudiced against single sex adopters" by Justice Secretary Michael Gove and the Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas.
Complaints to the show included accusations that Morgan's comments were offensive and discriminatory against Christians; however, media watchdog Ofcom said these claims are unwarranted.
"We noted that the interviewee was given several opportunities to respond," an Ofcom spokesman said, speaking about the group's assessment of the complaints. "[Page] stated he was not homophobic, and set out reasons why. Overall, the interview was balanced and we found no evidence of discrimination."
Morgan has been the subject of several previous controversies during his career as a journalist and TV personality. In 2014, Morgan interviewed trans activist Janet Mock about her recently-released book. During the interview, Morgan referred to Mock's transition and said she was "formerly a man," according to the Financial Times.
Mock took to Twitter to complain that the interview was sensationalized and disrespectful of her identity as a trans woman. Morgan retaliated on his own Twitter account, writing that Mock was "deliberately, and falsely, [fueling] some sense of me being 'transphobic.'"
Morgan also ran into criticism for his comments after a 2012 interview with then-Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Morgan said he was "fascinated" by Ahmadinejad, who has been criticized for his policies on LGBT rights.
"[Ahmadinejad's] a surprising character," Morgan said. "He’s unpredictable. I don’t think that he’s mad in the way many in the west perhaps prefer to see him."