ITV boss Dame Carolyn McCall says Schofield affair 'deeply inappropriate' as she's grilled by MPs

14 June 2023, 11:06 | Updated: 14 June 2023, 11:54

Dame Carolyn addressed questions about This Morning and Phillip Schofield's relationship
Dame Carolyn addressed questions about This Morning and Phillip Schofield's relationship. Picture: Alamy/Parliament TV

By Will Taylor

ITV's boss Dame Carolyn McCall has told MPs Phillip Schofield's relationship with a young male runner was "deeply inappropriate" because of the "imbalance of power".

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But there was no evidence of the the former This Morning presenter's affair and it was "repeatedly denied by both individuals", she said.

Nobody on the show's team said they had any knowledge of it either.

MPs on the culture committee are grilling Dame Carolyn after the fallout from the Schofield saga led to accusations of "toxic" culture at the daytime programme.

She said she looked into rumours of Schofield's relationship in December 2019, and things "got really febrile" after he came out in February 2020.

Dame Carolyn said "people who said they knew would only have heard rumours about it" and had they come forward and said there is evidence "we would have been able to launch a formal investigation".

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Phillip Schofield's relationship 'deeply inappropriate' says ITV boss

She went on: "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.

"One of the things I hope you'll see as we go through this is that we worked very, very hard for many months until recently to ask people... if they knew something was going on.

"And it was repeatedly denied by both individuals, but also no-one in the team ever said there was anything that they could say.

Read more: Holly Willoughby 'vows to never publicly address Phillip Schofield scandal again' after backlash from This Morning statement

"In fact, most of them said 'we don't know what's going on'."

Schofield, 61, quit This Morning after a rift emerged with co-host Holly Willoughby.

After an awkward week of presenting it together, he left, then admitted he had lied to her and ITV about his relationship.

He was also dropped by his talent agency YMU as he described the relationship as "unwise but not illegal".

Claims about Schofield's relationship put the spotlight on This Morning and ITV
Claims about Schofield's relationship put the spotlight on This Morning and ITV. Picture: Alamy

LBC and other media outlets are not naming the runner, who left the programme previously.

Dr Ranj Singh, who used to regularly appear on This Morning, said there were other issues apart from Schofield and he took his concerns to ITV chiefs.

ITV said an external review did not find any evidence of bullying or discrimination.

Read more: Tearful Holly Willoughby says she's been 'let down' by Phillip Schofield's lies as she returns to This Morning

But that has not stopped others including Eamonn Holmes, a former co-host on the show, hitting out about alleged problems.

Dame Carolyn, ITV's chief executive, was quizzed alongside Kevin Lygo, the managing director for media and entertainment, and Kyla Mullins, ITV's general counsel and company secretary.

MPs will talk about the investigation into the rumours, the working culture on This Morning and other shows, and ITV's use of disclosure agreements and whistleblowing policy.