ITV asks barrister to hold external review into Phillip Schofield exit
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ITV has instructed a barrister to carry out an 'external review of the facts' surrounding the departure of Phillip Schofield from This Morning.
The letter was written by ITV’s chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall and was seen by the PA news agency.
It was sent to culture secretary Lucy Frazer, DCMS Committee chair Dame Caroline Dinenage and Ofcom’s chief executive Dame Melanie Dawes, in the wake of Schofield’s controversial departure from ITV last week.
Schofield, 61, resigned from the ITV on Friday and was dropped by his talent agency YMU shortly after that. He admitted to having an 'unwise but not illegal' affair with a younger male colleague.
The letter mentions the 'significant media coverage concerning Phillip Schofield' and adds that: “As you would expect we take the matter extremely seriously and have reviewed our own records over the weekend.”
It states that ITV records show that 'when rumours of a relationship between Phillip Schofield and an employee of ITV first began to circulate in late 2019/early 2020 ITV investigated'.
“Both parties were questioned then and both categorically and repeatedly denied the rumours, as did Phillip’s then agency YMU. In addition, ITV spoke to a number of people who worked on the This Morning and wider Daytime team and were not provided with, and did not find any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour.
“Given the ongoing rumours, we continued to ask questions of both parties, who both continued to deny the rumours, including as recently as this month.”
The letter also says: “The ITV employee was aged 19 when he first did work experience at This Morning in 2015 and 20 years old when he applied and succeeded in securing a job as a runner on the show.
“He subsequently applied for and was successful in securing a promotion to Loose Women in 2019. He left ITV in 2021. As you would imagine given the social media scrutiny of him, we have offered him our support throughout this period and indeed are still doing so.
“The employee has made it clear that he does not wish to be named or identified in connection with this matter. We would be grateful if you would be mindful of this.”
The letter states that ITV has instructed Jane Mulcahy KC, of Blackstone Chambers, to 'carry out an external review to establish the facts'.
“She will review our records and talk to people involved. This work will also consider our relevant processes and policies and whether we need to change or strengthen any."