ITV boss Dame Carolyn McCall, 61, has been ordered to give evidence to a parliamentary committee to answer questions from MPs about the broadcaster’s safeguarding and complaint-handling measures after the now-infamous exit of presenter Phillip Schofield, 61, from This Morning.
After writing a letter to Parliament on Wednesday, in which she revealed ITV had commissioned an external review in the wake of Phillip’s departure, the chief executive will shortly be present at a session of the Culture, Media and Sport at 10am today.
Phillip departed the show following reports of a growing “rift” between himself and ex-co-host Holly Willoughby, 42, and he stepped down from ITV entirely soon afterwards due to the bombshell revelation that he had an affair with a much younger colleague while still married to his wife Stephanie Lowe.
ITV has released a statement saying they were “deeply disappointed” by Phillip’s “admission of deceit”, while Phillip has apologised to everyone he lied to, describing his actions as “unwise, but not illegal”.
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Minister of State for Digital and Culture’s response
ITV Chief Executive Dame Carolyn McCall wrote a letter to Parliament last Wednesday revealing the broadcaster had commissioned an external review following the fallout from the This Morning scandal.
Minister of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Dame Caroline Dinenage, who was one of the addressees of Wednesday’s letter, supplied a written response last Thursday.
The response read: “The Committee regards the media industry’s duty of care towards its staff a matter of the highest importance.
“Whilst the recent coverage focuses on the Schofield case, it also raises fundamental issues about safeguarding and complaint handling both at ITV and more widely across the media.
“These issues should, particularly in the case of public service broadcasters, be open to scrutiny. The public must have confidence in the robustness of public service broadcasters’ safeguarding procedures.
“Whilst these are issues that we want to discuss first with ITV, we will also consider them in our regular scrutiny sessions with other public service broadcasters, including the BBC later this month and Channel 4 later in the year.”
ITV’s statement in response
In response to Phillip Schofield’s statement, an ITV spokesperson said: “We are deeply disappointed by the admissions of deceit made tonight by Phillip Schofield.
“The relationships we have with those we work with are based on trust. Phillip made assurances to us which he now acknowledges were untrue and we feel badly let down.
“We accept his resignation from ITV and therefore can confirm that he will not be appearing on ITV as had previously been stated.”
Meanwhile, the star’s agent YMU Group revealed they had also dropped the presenter.
Mary Bekhait, the group CEO of YMU Group, said: “Honesty and integrity are core values for YMU’s whole business, defining everything we do,”
“Talent management is a relationship based entirely on trust.
“This week, we have learned important new information about our client Phillip Schofield. These facts contradicted what Phillip had previously told YMU, as well as the external advisors we had brought in to support him.
“As a result, on Thursday we agreed to part company with Phillip, with immediate effect.”
Phillip Schofield’s statement in full
On Friday, May 26, Phillip Schofield released a lengthy statement acknowledging his affair with a This Morning employee. Here it is in full:
“I am making this statement via the Daily Mail to whom I have already apologised personally for misleading, through my lawyer who I also misled, about a story which they wanted to write about me a few days ago.
“The first thing I want to say is: I am deeply sorry for having lied to them, and to many others about a relationship that I had with someone working on This Morning. I did have a consensual on-off relationship with a younger male colleague at This Morning. Contrary to speculation, whilst I met the man when he was a teenager and was asked to help him to get into television, it was only after he started to work on the show that it became more than just a friendship. That relationship was unwise, but not illegal. It is now over.
“When I chose to come out I did so entirely for my own wellbeing. Nobody ‘forced’ me out. Neither I nor anyone else, to my knowledge, has ever issued an injunction, super or otherwise, about my relationship with this colleague, he was never moved on or sacked by or because of me.‘In an effort to protect my ex-colleague I haven’t been truthful about the relationship. But my recent, unrelated, departure from This Morning fuelled speculation and raised questions which have been impacting him, so for his sake it is important for me to be honest now.
“I am painfully conscious that I have lied to my employers at ITV, to my colleagues and friends, to my agents, to the media and therefore the public and most importantly of all to my family. I am so very, very sorry, as I am for having been unfaithful to my wife.
“I have therefore decided to step down from the British Soap Awards, my last public commitment, and am resigning from ITV with immediate effect expressing my immense gratitude to them for all the amazing opportunities that they have given me. I will reflect on my very bad judgement in both participating in the relationship and then lying about it.
“To protect his privacy, I am not naming this individual and my deepest wish is that both he and his family can now move on with their lives free from further intrusion, and that this statement will enable them to do so. I ask the media now to respect their privacy. They have done nothing wrong, and I ask that their privacy should be respected.”
Good morning from London. I’m Hannah, I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments on Dame Carolyn McCall’s parliamentary committee meeting. Please feel free to get in touch with me if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.
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