ITV executives claim that up until the former This Morning presenter left ITV and issued a formal apology, both Phillip Schofield and his younger partner “repeatedly denied” reports of a relationship.
During Wednesday morning’s Culture, Media, and Sport Committee meeting in Parliament, MPs questioned ITV CEO Dame Carolyn McCall, ITV Managing Director Kevin Lygo, and ITV General Counsel and Company Secretary Kyla Mullins over Schofield’s departure.
Dame Carolyn told MPs that the relationship was “deeply inappropriate” due to the “imbalance of power and the imbalance of dynamics,” and ITV would have intervened if any evidence of it had surfaced during ongoing reviews.
She said “we were repeatedly told nothing was happening”, and both men denied it “both formally and informally”.
“There was only hearsay and rumour and speculation… Nobody on the board would have turned a blind eye to something as serious as this,” she said.
When Schofield, 61, admitted to having a “unwise but not illegal” affair with a younger male co-worker on the show, he was fired from ITV and abandoned by his talent agency, YMU.
This Morning has been dogged by “toxicity” claims since his resignation.
Since his departure, Schofield has “received counselling,” according to Dame Carolyn, who has shown “extreme concern” for his welfare.
She added that there is “no gagging order or NDA” to prevent the younger lover from speaking out about the circumstance.
This Morning and other productions’ working cultures, non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) use, and ITV’s whistleblowing policy will all be discussed during the session. It will also cover the initial investigation ITV conducted into rumors involving Schofield.
On Wednesday, the panel will also discuss the broadcaster’s approach to fulfilling its duty of care, which includes providing support for those who have left the organization.
The terms of reference for the external review, headed by Jane Mulcahy KC, were outlined by Dame Carolyn in a letter she sent to the chair of the committee, Dame Caroline Dinenage, on Monday. The review will “consider the facts of this case and assess our relevant processes and policies” to determine whether it needs to be modified or strengthened.
The barrister will assess complaints made since January 1, 2016, “by employees or freelancers working on This Morning,” as Dame Carolyn confirmed in the letter, and will consider whether the measures adopted were “appropriate and adequate.”
She also expected the review to be finished by the end of this year’s September.