Philip Schofield Responds to Critics: "It’s the Same Handful of People With a Grudge Against Me"
TV presenter Philip Schofield has released a new statement, defending ITV's "This Morning", the daytime TV show he fronted for over 20 years before he quit this month. Following Schofield's revelations regarding an affair with a younger colleague while on the show, wider criticism has been surfacing about the working environment on the ITV show.
In response, Schofield posted on his Instagram stories on 29 May: "I hope you have noticed that its the same handful of people with a grudge against me or the show who seem to have the loudest voice. This morning IS the best show to work on, with the best people. In all the years I worked there there was no toxicity. You can listen to those persistently loud voices if you like. But the thousands of guests over the years, thousands of staff and crew, hundreds of presenter and contributors all know, it IS a family of wonderful, talented, kind, hard working people."
Schofield's words come after a number of people spoke out on social media about the "toxic" culture behind the scenes at "This Morning". Dr Ranj, who worked on the show for over 10 years, posted on Instagram that he had concerns about the way people were being treated. "I even took my concerns directly to the top of ITV: the culture at This Morning had become toxic, no longer aligned with ITV values, and I felt like because I whistle-blew I was managed out." An ITV spokesperson said an independent review was carried out after Dr Ranj's complaint, but "the external review found no evidence of bullying or discrimination."
The spotlight is on the long-running daytime TV show after weeks of speculation of rifts in the friendship of Schofield and his co-host, Holly Willoughby. Schofield announced he would be leaving the show with immediate effect on 20 May, and days later, on 26 May, Schofield released a further statement detailing that he was resigning from ITV completely following a relationship with a younger colleague on the daytime TV show.
In a statement given to The Daily Mail, Schofield apologised for misleading the publication and his lawyer about a story that had been due to run concerning his personal life. "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," he wrote.
Schofield spoke out after ongoing scrutiny concerning the unnamed former colleague in question. "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 a just a friendship. That relationship was unwise, but not illegal. It is now over…"
He was still due to present the Soap Awards in a few weeks and told fans last week that he had a primetime TV show in the works. He has since resigned from both projects, giving thanks to the network for the "amazing opportunities" he had been given in his career.
"I am painfully conscious that I have lied to my employers at ITV, to my colleagues and friends, to my agents, to the media and therefore the public and most importantly of all to my family. I am so very, very sorry, as I am for having been unfaithful to my wife…" Schofield came out as gay in a live interview on "This Morning" in February 2020.
Schofield explained the man in question was being impacted, and he felt the need to be honest. "I will reflect on my very bad judgement in both participating in the relationship and then lying about it," he continued. Schofield ended the statement by asking for privacy going forward.
Social media soon became alight with questions regarding who knew about the relationship, particularly his friend and co-host, Willoughby. While currently on a half-term break from the show, and due to return to the sofa on 5 June, she addressed Schofield's statement in a very short Instagram story on 27 May, writing: "It's taken time to process yesterday's news. When reports of this relationship first surfaced, I asked Phil directly if this was true and was told it was not. It's been very hurtful to now find out that was a lie."
YMU Agency, who had represented Schofield, also released a statement explaining they have parted ways with the broadcaster.
An ITV spokesperson added: "We are deeply disappointed by the admissions of deceit made tonight by Phillip Schofield. The relationships we have with those we work with are based on trust. Phillip made assurances to us which he now acknowledges were untrue and we feel badly let down. We accept his resignation from ITV and therefore can confirm that he will not be appearing on ITV as had previously been stated."