Elton John claims reaction to Phillip Schofield affair has been ‘totally homophobic’

On the left, Elton John in black and yellow glasses, a grey suit, white shirt and blue and purple tie. On the right, Phillip Schofield in a black t-shirt and brown jacket. Both are smiling at the camera.

Elton John has criticised the reaction to This Morning host Phillip Schofield’s affair revelation, dubbing it “totally homophobic”.

Last month, 61-year-old presenter Schofield admitted to having an “unwise but not illegal affair” with a much younger, male This Morning employee.

The bombshell admission prompted days of media coverage, with Schofield giving interviews to the BBC and The Sun.

During the interviews, he said the affair was a “grave error” but insisted that did not “groom” the man in question, who was 15 when they first met.

Schofield suggested that the intense coverage of the affair had led to him feeling suicidal, also implying that the reaction might not have been so fervent had it not been a homosexual relationship.

“Attraction is attraction. It’s no different in the gay world [to] the heterosexual world or in the lesbian world,” he told The Sun.

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“There shouldn’t be a difference. This is where homophobia comes in,” he added, drawing a comparison to Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who has had relationships with women in their early twenties.

TV presenter Phillip Schofield wears a blue shirt while being interviewed by the BBC in his home.
Phillip Schofield suggested that “homophobia” was involved in the backlash to his affair. (BBC)

“It’s accepted [with] Leonardo DiCaprio, it’s not accepted if it’s in the gay world,” Schofield said.

Now, Elton has waded into the controversy.

The “Your Song” superstar made the comments during an interview with Radio Times while addressing rising anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment in the US, where Republican politicians have introduced hundreds of bills aimed at curbing the rights of trans people.

“We seem to be going backwards and that spreads. It’s like a virus that the LGBTQ+ movement is suffering… I don’t like it at all. It’s a growing swell of anger and homophobia that’s around America,” he said.

“I don’t know if it’s around Britain because I haven’t been here that much. But I feel that the Phillip Schofield thing has been totally homophobic.”

Elton John has branded the response to the Schofield controversy homophobic. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Elton, who will headline Glastonbury on 25 June, then suggested that “if it was a straight guy in a fling with a young woman, it wouldn’t even make the papers”.

He isn’t the first gay public figure to denounce the furore over the affair.

Earlier this month, My Policeman actor Rupert Everett dubbed the reaction “insanity”.

Everett said: “What’s he done? He’s married and has had an affair with someone [who it’s] legal to have an affair with.”

“It’s outrageous, this kind of puritan fascism that’s going on. If it’s just about him having an affair and lying to his agency – why can’t you lie to your agent?”

LGBTQ+ rights activist Peter Tatchell has also said that the “trashing” of Schofield had “more than a whiff of homophobia” about it.

In a statement earlier this month, the veteran campaigner went on: “Anti-gay prejudice is explicit on social media and implicit in much of the national media. The age gap between Schofield and the young man is cast as sordid and abusive.”

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