Phillip Schofield ‘declined’ to take part in ITV audit due to ‘risk to health’ | Ents & Arts News


Phillip Schofield “reluctantly declined” to take part in an external review following his departure from ITV due to “the risk to his health”.

The presenter quit This Morning – which he had hosted for more than 20 years – after to admit an “unwise but not illegal” relationship with a younger male colleague who also refused to participate in the review.

Schofield admitted lying about the affair and was dropped by his talent agency, YMU.

Of 48 people interviewed by Jane Mulcahy KC, who led the review, only one reported any knowledge of the affair – a former junior staff member, the barrister said.

They did not report their knowledge at the time, Ms Mulcahy added, and “others also did not report suspicions from much earlier in 2017”.

Many younger employees “remain convinced that speaking out will have a detrimental effect on their careers”, Mulcahy said.

This is despite her having no doubt that senior ITV management are “absolutely wedded to the importance of an open culture”.

But that culture “doesn’t filter down to younger employees,” Mulcahy said.

In future, she recommends that ITV sets out clear guidelines to ensure good behavior “even by those who are well-known names”.

ITV management “made a significant effort to establish the truth” about the affair, the review found.

However, in light of the denials of those involved, ITV was unable to reveal the relevant evidence, it added.

Ms Mulcahy said it was “clear” that Phillip Schofield’s “patronage” helped his younger colleague in the “early days of his time at ITV”.

Beyond that, however, he seemed to have “made his way on his own”.

Holly Willoughby (left) and Phillip Schofield attend the launch of Dancing On Ice 2020, held at Bovingdon Airfield, Hertfordshire.  PA photo.  Picture date: Monday, December 9, 2019. See PA story SHOWBIZ Ice.  Image credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire.
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Holly Willoughby has also left This Morning

Read more:
Timeline of ITV departure after colleague affair
Schofield’s statement when he resigned – and Holly’s response
Presenter dropped as ambassador for The Prince’s Trust

In a letter in August, Schofield’s lawyer said the presenter “reluctantly declined” to take part in the review because of the “risk to his health”, adding that his “mental health has since deteriorated”.

As for the young man with whom Schofield had an affair, a letter from his lawyers said he “wished to move on with his life and was not prepared to assist with this report”, Mulcahy said.

Because it was not a statutory investigation, the KC had “no power to compel people to cooperate” and anyone who did spoke on a voluntary basis.

A number of them had questions or concerns about confidentiality, she added.

They spoke to included people in senior and junior positions, current and former employees, people on air and those who manage “on-screen talent”.

ITV Chief Executive Dame Carolyn McCall
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ITV Chief Executive Dame Carolyn McCall

Ms Mulcahy is now stressing “the importance of junior staff at ITV having the confidence to raise concerns with management in line with ITV’s ‘Speaking Up’ policy”.

She added: “I have no doubt that senior management is absolutely committed to the importance of an open culture.

“However, this culture still does not filter down to younger employees, many of whom are convinced that speaking out will have a detrimental impact on their careers.”

Her report recommends increased efforts to ensure staff can raise concerns. It also recommends that a talent “charter” be issued, setting out key standards to be met.

Andy Cosslett, ITV chairman, said: “We are absolutely committed to creating an environment where everyone is treated with respect and feels able to perform at their best.

“Our promise to those we work with is that where a complaint or serious concern is raised we will always investigate and if we find that something inappropriate has happened we will take action.

“We will continue to develop our efforts to give younger colleagues the confidence to speak up if they have something to raise.”

The external review was announced by ITV’s chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall in May.

Its task was to conduct an external review of the facts following Schofield’s departure from the broadcaster.

ITV said it had investigated “rumors of a relationship” between Schofield and a younger staff member – but the pair “repeatedly” denied the relationship.

Schofield had originally said he was leaving this morning because he had “become the story” following rumors of a rift between him and co-presenter Holly Willoughby – who himself left the show in October.

He joined the show as a presenter in 2002 and first hosted it with Willoughby in 2009.


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