ITV boss Dame Carolyn McCall has called Phillip Schofield‘s relationship with a young co-worker – that was first revealed by Politicalite.com in 2020 as ‘deeply inappropriate’ and acknowledged there was an ‘imbalance of power’
McCall gave evidence in front of MPs at a parliamentary inquiry launched by the Government’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee (CMS) on Wednesday alongside the channel’s managing director Kevin Lygo and general counsel Kyla Mullins in the aftermath of Schofield’s departure from ITV amid revelations the presenter had what he described as an “unwise but not illegal” affair with a colleague.
Addressing why ITV bosses failed to launch a formal wife-ranging investigation into rumours of the affair, she told the government committee: “The people that have said they knew [about the affair], would only have heard rumours about it. If any one of the individuals you have named or referenced had come to us and said: ‘There is evidence that there is a relationship between Phillip Schofield and Person X’ with evidence, we would have been able to launch a formal investigation.”
She went on to add an official probe into Schofield’s relationship with the young runner would have been necessary “because the imbalance of power, the imbalance of dynamics in that relationship, makes it deeply inappropriate and we have policies that say that very clearly”.
McCall went on to say: “One of the things I hope you’ll see as we go through this, is that we worked very hard for many, many months – until recently – to ask people, not just Phillip Schofield and Person X, in production if they knew something was going on, and it was repeatedly denied by both individuals.”
Schofield previously admitted both he and the other man lied to cover up the relationship when they were asked about it.
A spokesperson for ITV also previously confirmed both parties had been asked about the rumours, but they were vehemently denied.
A spokesperson for the channel said in a statement: “ITV can confirm that when rumours of a relationship between Phillip Schofield and an employee of ITV first began to circulate in early 2020 ITV investigated.
“Both parties were questioned 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 ‘This Morning’ and were not provided with, and did not find, any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour. “Phillip’s statement yesterday reveals that he lied to people at ITV, from senior management to fellow presenters, to YMU, to the media and to others over this relationship.”
ITV’s statement came after Phillip sensationally resigned from the channel and was dropped by his agent after he admitted to lying about the affair.
The 61-year-old presenter – who quit ‘This Morning’ amid intense scrutiny over his alleged strained relationship with co-host Holly Willoughby, 42 – was still married at the time of his fling.
Phillip said in a long statement issued to the Daily Mail: “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.” Phillip was still married to his wife Stephanie Lowe at the time of the affair. He came out as gay in 2020.