TV bosses 'ignored' whistleblower email exposing Phillip Schofield's affair years before he left

31 May 2023, 05:24 | Updated: 31 May 2023, 07:56

Phillip Schofield's affair was exposed in a letter three years before he was fired
Phillip Schofield's affair was exposed in a letter three years before he was fired. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

Bosses at the TV channel where Phillip Schofield worked were sent a bombshell email exposing his affair with a younger staff member three years ago, it has been revealed.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

A former This Morning staff member sent executives the letter claiming Schofield was in a relationship with his young lover and asking why he was still on the air in 2020.

Schofield, 61, has admitted to having a "consensual on-off relationship with a younger male colleague at This Morning", which he said was "unwise, but not illegal".

The veteran TV presenter stepped down from This Morning earlier this month, and has since completely resigned from ITV and been dropped by his agents amid the ongoing controversy.

The letter, seen by MailOnline, read: "With the current rumours and accusations swirling around about Phillip Schofield…why is he still on our screens?

"Why have ITV not suspended him pending an internal inquiry?

Listen and subscribe to Unprecedented: Inside Downing Street on Global Player

Philip Schofield with former co-host Holly Willoughby
Philip Schofield with former co-host Holly Willoughby. Picture: Alamy

"I would have thought in this day and age that a mainstream broadcaster such as ITV ought to be seen to be doing all it can to deal with issues like this, find out where the truth lies and, in the meantime, suspend those who the rumours concern."

The former staff member finished the letter by calling on the channel "to take action and do the responsible thing."

ITV has said it investigated the rumours in early 2020, but Schofield “categorically” denied it was true. Their investigation only found "hearsay and rumours", they said.

Read more: Phillip Schofield dropped as ambassador for Prince's Trust charity as DCMS to grill TV bosses 'over This Morning affair'

But executives at the broadcaster are expected to face a televised probe from MPs over what they knew and when about the This Morning affair.

Bosses are expected to appear before the Commons Culture, Media and Sports Committee next Tuesday.

Phillip Schofield
Phillip Schofield. Picture: Alamy

It comes as the Prince's Trust, a charity founded by the King, said it was "no longer appropriate" for it to work with the presenter, who left This Morning last week after two decades as host.

Meanwhile it emerged yesterday that Schofield begged a YouTuber who filmed him in a restaurant with his lover to delete the video because it could "ruin" his career, the social media star has claimed.

Jack Jones filmed the video with a confetti cannon in the restaurant to celebrate gaining his millionth follower on YouTube.

Schofield is in the background of the video sitting at a table with a young man.

Jones said in a video posted to Twitter: "After I did the video, he begged me not to put the video up because he said, 'It could ruin my career' and I said, 'How could it ruin your carer?' And he said he didn't want to get into it."

Phillip Schofield
Phillip Schofield. Picture: Alamy

Schofield hit back at critics on Monday who claimed there was a "toxic" culture on This Morning.

He released a statement less than half an hour before the programme was due to air on Monday, with Alison Hammond and Dermot O'Leary presenting the show.

Phillip Schofield and former co-host Holly Willoughby
Phillip Schofield and former co-host Holly Willoughby. Picture: Getty

He insisted that there is "no toxicity" at This Morning and added that "it's the same handful of people with a grudge against me or the show who seem to have the loudest voice".

He said in an Instagram story: "Now I no longer work on @thismorning I am free to say this. I hope you have noticed that it's 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 presenters and contributors all know, it IS a family of wonderful, talented, kind, hard working people."

Dermot O'Leary also appeared to reference claims of "toxicity" at This Morning as he presented Monday's episode of the show, saying: "We all know we happen to be in the news at the moment and of course we appreciate that but just from both of us, the whole team here, the crew, the guys downstairs, we love making this show for all of you."

Co-host Alison Hammond added: "We really do and that's exactly what we are going to do, we are going to continue to do that."

TV doctor Ranj Singh
TV doctor Ranj Singh slammed the 'toxic' work culture at This Morning. Picture: Alamy

Gyles Brandreth, who was in the studio to review the news stories of the day, said: "We are very happy to be here, can I say that as well?"

This is a happy place to work, I enjoy coming in here and have done since I began coming in. We are happy people in a happy place."

It comes after TV doctor Ranj Singh slammed a toxic culture at This Morning which led to him being "managed out" of the show.

Speaking on Twitter, the former contributor on the show revealed that he believes that his complaints about the culture on the show led to his departure from his role.

Read more: Former This Morning doctor slams 'toxic' culture at ITV show after bosses say show will not be axed

Read more: Phillip Schofield's lover was '15 when they met' as ex-presenter 'helped young boy get a job at This Morning'

Singh wrote: "I was on the show for 10 years and I genuinely loved and valued working there."However, over time I grew increasingly worried about things were behind the scenes and how people including myself, were being treated.

"I didn't know the truth about what was going on with Philip [sic], but I do know the issues with TM [This Morning] go far beyond him. It takes more than one person to create a culture."

Another former colleague, Eamonn Holmes, also said in his reaction to the controversy on Twitter that Schofield had "finally been caught out".

"He's not the only guilty party. 4 high members of ITV management knew what sort of man he was," he said.

Responding to Schofield's latest statement, Holmes tweeted: "Schofield has just put out a delusional statement. Like Holly he puts it on Insta Stories so if it goes wrong there is no record after 24 hrs.

"I'm reluctant to give the liar any more publicity but believe me Pip if u r looking for a fight, u have picked on the wrong person!"

Since the saga began, there have been rumours that This Morning could be axed from ITV's schedule amid questions over how many people knew about the host's affair with a young male employee.

There are growing questions over how many people knew about the relationship, including top TV bosses and colleagues such as Holly Willoughby.

Willoughby, who is due to return next Monday, previously said in a statement that "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 this was a lie," she added.

ITV has denied that it knew about the affair, saying an investigation into rumours was carried out in 2020, but that Schofield and the young employee "repeatedly denied" having a romantic relationship.