ITV WAS ‘UNABLE TO UNCOVER’ TRUTH OF SCHOFIELD AFFAIR, EXTERNAL REVIEW FINDS

ITV made “considerable efforts” to find out the truth about an alleged relationship between Phillip Schofield and a runner on This Morning in 2019 but was “unable to uncover the relevant evidence” until the presenter’s own admission in late May 2023, an external review has found.

The TV star, 61, left the popular daytime show in May after he admitted to a past relationship with a younger male former colleague.

ITV bosses have said both Schofield and his former lover “repeatedly denied” allegations of a relationship until the star quit ITV and formally apologised.

MPs have urged the broadcaster to make sure staff feel “it’s safe” at ITV.

A report by Jane Mulcahy KC said: “ITV’s management made considerable efforts to determine the truth about an alleged relationship between PS (Schofield) and PX (the runner) following on from the publication of a story in The Sun newspaper in early December 2019.

“However, in the face of the denials of the individuals involved, ITV was unable to uncover the relevant evidence until PS’s admission in late May 2023.”

Ms Mulcahy interviewed 48 people for the review but Schofield “reluctantly declined” to take part because of “the risk to his health”, the report says.

“I am informed that PS’s mental health has since deteriorated,” the report said.

The runner, who has not been named, also declined to participate.

After the story broke in 2019, ITV tried to do everything it could to help PX and provided significant additional support to him, even in May 2023 despite his employment having ended

ITV external report

The review also found that Schofield’s patronage of the runner assisted him in the early days of his career at ITV but beyond this the man “seems to have made his way on his own.”

The report adds: “I am satisfied that PX’s promotion to a role of production secretary on another daytime programme had nothing to do with PS.

“Further, the only agreement between ITV and PX under which he was paid any settlement sum was a standard agreement ending the employment relationship dated 31 July 2021.

“After the story broke in 2019, ITV tried to do everything it could to help PX and provided significant additional support to him, even in May 2023 despite his employment having ended.”

The daytime programme has continued to face scrutiny following Schofield’s departure, with allegations of a “toxic” environment.

When presenting her report to the board, Ms Mulcahy said that for the period under review there was no finding of a “toxic” culture.

Only one person interviewed had any knowledge of the affair prior to May 2023, the report said. The former junior employee did not report it.

I hope that the completion of this review allows the team at This Morning to get back to what they do so well - making a brilliant show that entertains and informs millions of viewers every week

ITV chairman Andy Cosslett

In the report recommendations, it is suggested ITV sets out “clear guidelines for its talent going forward to ensure that good behaviours are observed even by those who are household names.”

It also emphasises the importance of junior employees at ITV having the confidence to raise concerns to management in line with ITV’s Speaking Up policy.

The report says: “I have no doubt that senior management are absolutely wedded to the importance of an open culture. But this culture is still not filtering down to junior employees, many of whom remain convinced that to speak out will have a detrimental impact on their careers.”

Andy Cosslett, chairman of ITV plc, said in response to the report: “We welcome her recommendations and are already acting on them.

“We are completely committed to creating an environment where everyone is treated with respect and feels able to give of their best.

“Our promise to those we work with is that where a complaint is made, or serious concerns 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 junior colleagues the confidence to speak up if they have something to raise.

“I hope that the completion of this review allows the team at This Morning to get back to what they do so well – making a brilliant show that entertains and informs millions of viewers every week.”

Chairwoman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee Dame Caroline Dinenage, who grilled the broadcaster over Schofield’s admission earlier this year, said: “There is a need for ITV to do much more to encourage people to speak out, and to support junior staff”.

The MP added: “It is not enough to have policies and procedures in place – staff, especially junior ones, need to know it’s safe to use them. I look forward to hearing more from ITV as it works to build this open culture throughout the organisation.

“New initiatives such as the recommended talent charter are a step in the right direction for tackling power imbalance.”

She also said a new creative industry body, called Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CIISA), that has previously suggested it wants to recommend sanctions for harmful behaviour in the industry, will help ITV and the media change the industry.

Schofield’s co-host Holly Willoughby left the show in October after 14 years on the sofa.

Since the long-time presenting duo departed, there has been a rotation of presenters taking the helm including Alison Hammond, Dermot O’Leary, Josie Gibson and Craig Doyle, with Rylan Clark and Emma Willis the latest duo to front the show.

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2023-12-07T13:53:37Z dg43tfdfdgfd