Former This Morning boss slams ‘sexist, homophobic’ ITV culture and ‘utterly fake’ Holly and Phil relationship

Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby

The former head of news at ITV’s This Morning has revealed that she quit her job over the allegedly “toxic, sexist and homophobic” atmosphere she experienced while working on the show, and has called Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield’s relationship “utterly fake”.

Emily Maddick, who is now Glamour Magazine’s assistant editor, shared her experiences in a Glamour article, along with excerpts from her ITV HR exit interview on Friday (2 June).

ITV has come under fire in recent weeks after former This Morning presenter Phillip Schofield’s bombshell admission that he had lied to bosses, colleagues, friends, family, his talent agency and the media about an affair with a younger colleague. 

Schofield, 61, called the relationship “unwise, but not illegal” in a statement to the Daily Mail on 26 May and resigned from ITV “with immediate effect”. The admission came just six days after the disgraced presenter stepped down from presenting This Morning after more than 20 years at the helm. 

ITV announced on Thursday (1 June) that it would be holding an external investigation into the handling of Schofield’s affair.

In her Glamour piece, Maddick, who worked as head of news at ITV’s This Morning from September to December 2019, claimed that the culture on the show was “more sinister” than anything she’d experienced in newsrooms previously, including at the Mail on Sunday. 

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“Did I experience a toxic atmosphere? Yes. Sexism? Yes. Bullying? Yes. Homophobia? Yes,” Maddick wrote. 

She detailed instances of “casual – and sometimes blatant – sexism” at the “highest levels” on This Morning, along with “ugly, judgemental and offensive innuendo and a homophobic joke in a high-level executive meeting. The joke, allegedly directed at a “senior, gay member of the team” was “met with stony silence”. 

In the explosive article, Maddick claimed that the rumours about Schofield and “his young male lover” were an “open secret” in the production team and said that she believes those in power were “complicit”. 

“Were King and Queen of ‘kindness’, the BFFs of bonhomie, Holly and Phil, as fun, friendly and fits-of-fizzy-giggles-funny as they appear on screen? No,” Maddick continued.

Holly Willoughby, Phillip Schofield and Alison Hammond collect the Best Daytime award for This Morning at the National Television Awards 2022 at OVO Arena Wembley on 13 October 2022. (Mike Marsland/WireImage)

“Did I hear about the rumours about Schofield and his young male lover? Yes, it was an open secret amongst the production team. Did I think that those in power knew about Schofield and his lover? Yes, I believe they were complicit.”

Maddick shared extracts from her exit interview, delivered in December 2019, reporting “a culture of intimidation at This Morning” that prevented her from doing her job to the best of her ability and “created a climate of fear”. 

Other This Morning stars, including presenter Eamonn Holmes and Dr Raj Singh, have accused ITV of presiding over a “toxic” workplace culture. 

In a statement shared on Twitter, Dr Ranj said that the “culture at This Morning had become toxic, no longer aligned with ITV values” and because he “whistle-blew”, he was “managed out”. 

“I didn’t know the truth about what was going on with Phillip, but I do know the issues with [This Morning] go far beyond him. It takes more than one person to create a culture,” he wrote.

“I haven’t worked on the show since … and I’m not the only one who has spoken up or experienced similar,” Dr Ranj concluded. 

In an interview with GB News’ Dan Wootton on Monday (29 May), Holmes claimed that the “toxicity” on This Morning was not with himself, Dan Wootton or “anyone else” but with Schofield. 

“This nonsense that he [Schofield] wrote today about toxicity, about it’s a happy place and whatever … holy god, what planet does this man live on? He created an atmosphere where people hated him,” Holmes said.

“People would avoid him in the corridor. He didn’t look at anybody, he didn’t know anybody’s names. Holly doesn’t know people’s names either. This is legendary within the production team, that how distant they are and how they just don’t care.”

In a tweet promoting the interview, Holmes wrote: “Tonight is for all my workmates over the years who were frightened and ignored by you and your controlling , coercive behaviour. All you who no one listened to. I’m here for you.”

Maddick also claimed that the relationship between Schofield and co-presenter Willoughby, which was previously integral to This Morning’s success, was “utterly fake” and that she wasn’t “allowed to communicate with either of them”.  

“On my first day I watched from the gallery and was startled by the difference between ‘on camera Holly and Phil’ and ‘off camera Holly and Phil’,” Maddick continued. 

“As soon as cameras stopped rolling, for an ad break for example, the perma-smiles would immediately slip and Phillip would often have a face like thunder complaining about minute details that he felt were going wrong or segments he didn’t like. Holly would often just sit scrolling through her phone.”

Maddick’s Glamour article reported ITV as responding with the following statement: “As a producer and broadcaster, ITV takes its responsibilities around Duty of Care and Speaking Up seriously and has robust and well-established processes in place.”

Phillip Schofield is no longer working for ITV. He has resigned from Dancing on Ice duties and will not front a new peak-time series for the broadcaster.

PinkNews has contacted ITV for comment. 

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