An MP criticized This Morning editor Martin Frizell for his “deeply inappropriate and disrespectful” response to inquiries regarding claims of a “toxic” work climate at ITV.
Prior to Holly Willoughby’s return to the program, Sky News contacted Frizell. This was in response to the controversy surrounding Phillip Schofield’s resignation from ITV and his admission of an affair with a younger colleague.
Asked if there is a “toxic” work environment at This Morning, he 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.”
John Nicolson MP, a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, tweeted: “This is a deeply inappropriate and disrespectful way to respond to questions about safeguarding vulnerable staff and bullying in the workplace at ITV.”
Eamonn Holmes, a former This Morning presenter, and Dr. Ranj Singh, a former resident physician, have both alleged a “toxic” workplace environment.
While Dr. Ranj claimed he complained about “bullying and discrimination” while working there two years ago and felt like he was “managed out” as a result, Holmes claimed there was a “total cover-up” regarding the Schofield issue.
ITV CEO Dame Carolyn McCall wrote to Parliament on Wednesday to inform them that an external investigation into a complaint filed by Dr. Ranj had found “no evidence of bullying or discrimination.”
While working on the program from September to December 2019, former This Morning director of news Emily Maddick claimed she left the show because of “bullying, sexism, and a toxic culture of fear and intimidation.”
On Saturday, Frizell told a Sky News reporter to “read between the lines” amid claims of toxicity, adding: “I think there’s some scores being settled.”
On June 14, Dame Carolyn will appear before a parliamentary committee to respond to inquiries regarding the broadcaster’s safeguarding and complaint-handling policies in the wake of Schofield’s departure.
She has acknowledged that she has asked Blackstone Chambers’ Jane Mulcahy KC to conduct an independent investigation of the facts.
When he appears before the select committee on June 6 for a hearing focused on the draft Media Bill, Magnus Brooke, ITV’s director of strategy, policy, and regulation, may be questioned by MPs over the This Morning controversy.
According to SNP MP Mr. Nicolson, he anticipates “getting some answers” from ITV executives over the Schofield scandal.