Phillip Schofield ‘refused to take part’ in This Morning’s ‘toxicity’ probe over concern for his health

A report from lawyer Jane Mulcahy KC was published today, sharing findings from an external review which looked into Phillip Schofield’s affair scandal and ITV exit

Phillip Schofield ‘reluctantly declined’ his invitation to be interviewed in a probe into a toxic working environment at This Morning, a bombshell report has revealed.

The investigation was brought about by Schofield admitting to having an ‘unwise but not illegal’ affair with a younger male colleague.

The findings of the external review, published today, found that ITV made “considerable efforts” to investigate Phillip’s relationship with a younger ITV colleague. The report from the external review reveals that Phillip “reluctantly declined” to take part in an interview with Jane Mulcahy KC due to his health.

The report states: “A letter from PS’s solicitor, Jonathan Coad at Coad Law, dated 4 August 2023, stated that PS “reluctantly decline[d]” my invitation to participate in the Review because of the risk to his health. I am informed that PS’s mental health has since deteriorated.”

Phillip Schofield 'reluctantly declined' to be interviewed in ITV's external probe into his affair


Phillip Schofield ‘reluctantly declined’ to be interviewed in ITV’s external probe into his affair 
Image:
Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

Phil's ex-lover also refused to be interviewed
Phil’s ex-lover also refused to be interviewed 


Image:
Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

The unnamed person Phillip had the affair with also declined to take part as the report adds: “As to PX, by an email from solicitors Mishcon de Reya dated 10 August 2023, Iwas informed that PX wanted to move on with his life and was not prepared toassist with this Review. I inquired again on 24 October 2023. I received an email from Mishcon de Reya on 1 November 2023 stating that PX had already made his position clear.”

Phillip’s lawyer said in June he would “expect Phillip fully to co-operate with any formal enquiry”, but that he had not been approached yet.

The investigation was launched following the scandal surrounding long-serving presenter Phillip Schofield. Phillip, 61, left This Morning following a string of reports and speculation of a feud between himself and co-host Holly Willoughby. Days later, he quit ITV altogether as he admitted he had an ‘unwise but not illegal’ affair with a younger colleague.

The fallen TV star also admitted to lying about the relationship to his wife, agent and viewers – as well as This Morning colleagues, too. Following the scandal, which broke in May this year, ITV instructed a lawyer to look into how the affair and Phil’s exit was handled.The report also adds that the unnamed runner’s promotion from This Morning to Loose Women “had nothing to do” with Phillip, Mulcahy found. The report also states that “only one person” interviewed by Mulcahy had knowledge of the affair – and are said to have found out in 2021 – but “did not report their knowledge at time”.

The broadcaster’s chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall revealed earlier this year ITV had looked into rumours an affair between Phillip and an unnamed colleague had started in late 2019, but those involved denied the claims and continued to as recently as the same month as Phil’s admission.

It is also understood that one of the areas Mulcahy may have investigated is as to whether HR were involved, or indeed alerted at all, in the ­investigations undertaken by ITV. A source said in June: “It’s an area that will be looked at. No stone will be left unturned.”

Also in June, ITV boss Magnus Brooke was questioned by MPs at the Culture, Media and Sport Committee about “unhappy” staff at This Morning and claims of “bullying” at the daytime show. During the hearing, Brooke admitted that comments by Martin Frizell were “extremely ill-judged” after the This Morning editor referred to aubergines when asked about allegations of a “toxic” work environment on the programme.

Frizell was approached by Sky News ahead of presenter Holly Willoughby’s return to This Morning following the furore over Phillip Schofield ’s departure from ITV after he admitted having an affair with a younger colleague.

Asked if there is a “toxic” work environment on the show, the editor replied: “I’ll tell you what’s toxic, and I’ve always found it toxic – aubergine. Do you like aubergine? Do you? Do you like aubergine, because I don’t like aubergine. It’s just a personal thing.”

Meanwhile, another probe – this time an internal one – was reportedly launched last month after it was claimed one of the show’s producers has reportedly been accused of having an affair with a contestant during the filming of a spin-off in Barbados.

The holiday dating segment pilot, which was fronted by A Place In The Sun host Laura Hamilton, saw the senior staff member reportedly having a fling with a contestant during their time in the Caribbean. Although the producer has since resigned, the incident is said to have proven somewhat of an embarrassment for the broadcaster, who promised transparency in the wake of Schofield’s departure.

A spokesperson for ITV told the Mirror last month: “We are unable to comment on the details of any specific employment-related matters. ITV sets out and upholds very clear policies with regards to raising concerns and work-related conduct amongst our people.”

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