ITV to hold external investigation into handling of Phillip Schofield This Morning affair
ITV has reportedly started an external investigation into its handling of a relationship between former This Morning presenter Phillip Schofield and a younger colleague.
The channel’s chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall confirmed that ITV has instructed a barrister to lead the external review.
Former This Morning presenter Schofield, 61, left the network in May after he admitted lying about an affair with a younger male colleague, which he described as “unwise, but not illegal”.
Schofield has apologised for lying to his colleagues, the media and his friends and family about the affair, which reportedly took place while Schofield was still married to his wife Stephanie Lowe.
ITV previously said it had investigated the affair in 2020, but they did not find any “evidence” of a relationship between Phillip Schofield and the unnamed This Morning employee “beyond hearsay and rumour”.
The network has now said it will carry out an external review to “establish the facts”, and that a barrister will “review our records and talk to people involved”, according to the BBC.
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The letter from Dame McCall states: “This work will also consider our relevant processes and policies and whether we need to change or strengthen any.
“Given Phillip’s admission of the extent of his deception, the work will extend to cover any related issues that may emerge. This work will be carried out as quickly as possible and we will be happy to share the outcome.
“As you would expect, we take the matter extremely seriously and have reviewed our own records over the weekend.”
Dame McCall explained that the employee involved in the affair had been 19 years old “when he first did work experience at This Morning”, and 20 years old when he became an employee at the show.
She added that he has been offered support due to “social media scrutiny” of the affair.
After leaving This Morning, Phillip Schofield said in a statement: “I did have a consensual on-off relationship with a younger male colleague at This Morning.
“Contrary to speculation, whilst I met the man when he was a teenager and was asked to help him to get into television, it was only after he started to work on the show that it became more than just a friendship. That relationship was unwise, but not illegal. It is now over.”
He added: “In an effort to protect my ex-colleague, I haven’t been truthful about the relationship. But my recent, unrelated, departure from This Morning fuelled speculation and raised questions which have been impacting him, so for his sake it is important for me to be honest now.”
Holly Willoughby broke her silence over Schofield’s affair on Saturday (27 May), explaining that she was “hurt” he had not told her the truth about the relationship previously.
“It’s taken time to process yesterday’s news,” she wrote on her Instagram stories.
“When reports of this relationship surfaced, I asked Phil directly if this was true and was told it was not. It’s been very hurtful to now find out that this was a lie.”
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