ITV Boss on Phillip Schofield’s On-Set Affair: ‘The Imbalance of Power Makes it Deeply Inappropriate’

ITV boss Carolyn McCall said former “This Morning” anchor Phillip Schofield’s relationship with a young runner on this show was “deeply inappropriate” due to the “imbalance of power.”

McCall was appearing before a U.K. Culture Media and Sport Committee (CMS) parliamentary inquiry on the working culture and duty of care at ITV following the controversy around Schofield and his time on the long-running daytime show.

McCall was joined by ITV’s MD for media and entertainment Kevin Lygo and general counsel Kyla Mullins.

Mullins detailed the company’s investigation of Schofield’s affair, telling the CMS committee the runner – who is being referred to during proceedings as “Person X” – was asked by ITV 12 times about his relationship with Schofield and denied it each time. She said Schofield also repeatedly denied the claims until he resigned last month.

“We asked multiple times of both individuals both formally and informally,” added McCall. “We felt that was proportional to what we had, because we had no evidence. There was only hearsay and rumour and speculation.”

“We were also very very concerned about the state of mind of both Phillip and Person X. Phillip was not in a good state […] and Person X could not grasp the media intrusion that was so prevalent in his life now.”

“If we’d had any evidence, we would have done a formal investigation.”

Schofield, who had worked on “This Morning” for 20 years, resigned in May after rumours about his affair intensified. A week after departing the show, which he co-hosted alongside Holly Willoughby, he admitted to the affair, a move which saw him part ways with his agency YMU as well as ITV.

Part of the fall-out was because Schofield admitted he had first met the young runner as a teenager before helping him get an internship on the show. The anchor says when the runner – who has not been named in the media at his request – then secured a permanent role as a PA an affair ensued, starting with an illicit kiss in Schofield’s dressing room. The anchor was married with two children at the time.

There have been reports that the affair – which has since ended – left the runner an emotionally fragile state.

In the ensuing fall-out, former “This Morning” staff – including on-screen medic Dr Ranj Singh and former head of news Emily Maddick – shared their own, negative experiences of the show, with Singh calling the atmosphere there “toxic.”

The scandal is the latest duty of care headache for ITV, which has only just recovered from a trio of suicides linked to its hit dating show “Love Island”. Two former contestants and former host Caroline Flack all died by suicide between 2018 and 2020. ITV has always pointed to the inquests for each of the deaths, which did not blame the show.

In May 2019, a guest who appeared on ITV’s Jerry Springer-style program “The Jeremy Kyle Show” died seven days after filming his segment, in which he took a lie detector test. An inquest said the show “may have caused or contributed” to the guest’s death, the BBC reported at the time.

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