Parliament’s media committee chair has clarified that the upcoming questioning of ITV’s chief executive will not be a “witch hunt” against former presenter Philip Schofield. Instead, Dame Caroline Dinenage explained that the session aims to address broader questions about workplace culture and practices following Schofield’s resignation due to a relationship with a younger colleague. The Department of Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) committee is set to question ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5 executives about the draft Media Bill.
Dame Caroline expressed her concerns about the meeting being dominated by questions surrounding “This Morning” and invited ITV chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall to a separate session with MPs next Wednesday. The Conservative MP emphasised that the focus should be on workplace practices, systems, and processes that protect staff members within ITV and other public service broadcasters.
Schofield, 61 years old, admitted to an “unwise but not illegal” relationship with a younger male colleague, leading to his departure from ITV and being dropped by talent agency YMU. He has since denied grooming the man, who was 20 years old when their relationship began.
The DCMS committee will also address whistleblowing practices, as emails were reportedly sent to ITV’s boss on multiple occasions, drawing attention to Schofield’s situation. Dame Caroline stated that all public service broadcasters could learn from this case and expressed her concern for Schofield, who has admitted having suicidal thoughts since the scandal emerged.
Schofield’s affair occurred while he was still married to Stephanie Lowe, before publicly coming out as gay in 2020. ITV has announced an external review of the situation led by a barrister.
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