ITV boss Dame Carolyn McCall is to appear before a parliamentary committee to answer questions about the broadcaster’s approach to safeguarding and complaint handling following the exit of former employee Phillip Schofield from This Morning.
The chief executive will face questions from MPs on the This Morning row at a session of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee this morning.
It comes after former presenter Schofield, 61, resigned from ITV and was dropped by his talent agency YMU after admitting to an “unwise but not illegal” affair with a younger male colleague.
Dame Carolyn wrote a letter to culture secretary Lucy Frazer, DCMS Committee chair Dame Caroline Dinenage and Ofcom’s chief executive Dame Melanie Dawes, to confirm ITV had instructed barrister Jane Mulcahy KC of Blackstone Chambers, to carry out an external review of the facts following Schofield’s departure.
Schofield’s relationship took place while the TV star was still married to wife Stephanie Lowe and before he came out publicly as gay.
The letter said ITV records show that “when rumours of a relationship between Phillip Schofield and an employee of ITV first began to circulate” both parties “denied” it and this was reiterated “as recently as this month”.
Since Schofield’s resignation, This Morning has been plagued with allegations of “toxicity”.
The show’s former resident doctor, Dr Ranj Singh, hit out at a “toxic” culture, saying he raised concerns about “bullying and discrimination” two years ago when he worked there – and afterwards felt like he was “managed out” for whistleblowing.
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In her letter, Dame Carolyn said that an external review conducted following a complaint made by Dr Ranj found “no evidence of bullying or discrimination”.
Meanwhile Eamonn Holmes, who presented This Morning on Fridays with wife Ruth Langsford until 2020, accused Schofield of “toxicity” in an interview with Dan Wootton on GB News.
Last week Magnus Brooke, group director of strategy, policy and regulation at ITV, was questioned about This Morning at a Culture, Media and Sport Committee hearing about the draft Media Bill.
Earlier in the session, committee chairwoman Dame Caroline said MPs would not be addressing the issues around former presenter Schofield leaving the show, with Dame Carolyn appearing in a separate session this morning to face questions on the broadcaster’s approach to safeguarding and complaint handling.
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