ITV boss launches inquiry into Phillip Schofield's affair
Now ITV’s under-fire boss launches inquiry into Phillip Schofield’s scandalous affair with This Morning lover in humiliating climbdown after holding crisis meeting with staff
- ITV launches external inquiry into Phillip Schofield affair to save This Morning
- Barrister-led review as pressure mounts on bosses to say when affair was known
ITV tonight launch an external inquiry into Phillip Schofield’s relationship with a much younger colleague in an attempt to save embattled This Morning.
In a humiliating climbdown, the channel told its employees, following a crisis staff meeting, that it has begun a review, which will be led by a barrister as the pressure mounts for the bosses to tell what they knew and when about the affair.
In what was the broadcaster’s first concession of potential wrongdoing over the scandal, its chief people officer David Osborn wrote to staff to inform them of the move which comes after sources close to the former production assistant say that he was never asked about the relationship by ITV.
It came after This Morning employees were called to a meeting at the show’s White City offices by its editor Martin Frizell and head of daytime Emma Gormley. Both returned from their holidays to attend it.
It is understood that the pair took questions from their staff and attempted to put their minds at rest about the show.
ITV tonight launch an external inquiry into Phillip Schofield’s relationship with a much younger colleague in an attempt to save embattled This Morning
Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby pictured with the young man he had an affair with
However, shortly after the email was sent round by Mr Osborn who also told how the channel had written to the Department of Culture Media and Sport, television regulator Ofcom and the DCMS Select Committee – which it will be appearing before next Tuesday – to give them their version of events.
The letter also said that Schofield’s former partner was 20 when he was employed as a staff member on This Morning but had done work experience there before that.
It also let rip at Schofield, 61, saying that he had let them down by lying to hide the relationship, which he described as ‘unwise but not illegal.’
The letter said: ‘Whilst we are extremely mindful of our duty of care and confidentiality to all concerned, I know you have your own questions on this matter. So to clarify, the individual was concerned when he was first employed at ITV, having completed work experience the previous year. He subsequently secured a promotion through an open recruitment process before leaving in 2021.
‘We have taken this matter extremely seriously and have reviewed how we have handled this issue, including how we investigated the rumours when they arose in late 2019/early 2020 when both parties were questioned and both categorically and repeatedly denied the rumours and subsequent follow ups.
‘The relationships we have with those we work with are based on trust. Phillip made assurances to us and others whic he now acknowledges were untrue and we feel badly let down.
‘We believe the approach we have taken to be the right one taking into account all of the circumstances. Today we have set up an externally led review to establish the facts, review our records and talk to people involved. This work will also consider our relevant processes and policies and whether we need to change or strengthen any. This work will be carried out as quickly as possible and we will of course be happy to share the findings.’
On Tuesday the channel will sit before the DCMS Select Committee where it will be grilled by MPs about This Morning’s toxic culture. But its chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall (pictured) will not be answering questions
ITV staff were quick to react to the email, with some speculating that it will ensure that some of the senior management will end up being sacked.
One told the Daily Mail: ‘It’s about time this happened, all week nobody has said a word while the bosses were off on holiday. Now they have to answer some questions and lets hope they are not stupid enough to try to cover up what appears to be a cover up.’
The channel has insisted that they investigated the relationship, releasing a statement on Saturday that it had spoken to both Schofield and the other man just over three years ago but both parties ‘categorically and repeatedly denied’ it.
However, sources close to the man, who was later moved to another ITV daytime show, Loose Women, say that he was never spoken to by ITV.
On Tuesday the channel will sit before the DCMS Select Committee where it will be grilled by MPs about This Morning’s toxic culture.
But its chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall will not be answering questions and has instead dispatched her group strategic partnerships and distribution director, Martin Goswami.
One ITV staff member said: ‘What a terribly cowardly thing to do, why wouldn’t Carolyn go and face this head on?’
Last Friday, in a statement to the Daily Mail, Schofield admitted he had lied about an on-off relationship with the man which took place while he was married to his wife Stephanie Lowe
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