Former This Morning host Eamonn Holmes has alleged that ITV bosses knew about Phillip Schofield's affair, Ellie Pitt reports
Phillip Schofield "created an atmosphere" on This Morning "where people hated him" and "avoided him in the corridor", former colleague Eamonn Holmes has claimed.
The TV presenter made a number of scathing remarks about Schofield and ITV in an interview with Dan Wootton on GB News aired on Monday.
It comes after Schofield, 61, resigned from ITV on Friday and was dropped by his talent agency YMU after admitting to an “unwise, but not illegal” affair with a young male colleague on This Morning.
In the wake of his resignation, some former This Morning employees have come out to criticise the culture at the show.
Holmes, who left the show in December 2021, claimed "everything at ITV was geared towards making Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby happy" - describing the pair as "distant" and uncaring of other staff.
He alleged that “those in authority” had to have known what was going on. “It’s a total cover-up,” he said.
“Those in authority had to know what was going on and they thought they would dodge a bullet with this.
“Which they do, and they do constantly, because with Schofield talking about those who speak out against him, namely me, Amanda Holden and you (Dan Wootton), you’ll be included in the toxicity that goes on. Dr Ranj, of course, as well.
“And you simply sit there and think ‘No mate, you’ve had it all your way for too long’.”
On Saturday, ITV said that it had investigated the rumours in early 2020, but Schofield “categorically” denied that it was true.
“Further to our statement last night, ITV can confirm that when rumours of a relationship between Phillip Schofield and an employee of ITV first began to circulate in early 2020 ITV investigated,” a spokesperson for the broadcaster said.
“Both parties were questioned and both categorically and repeatedly denied the rumours as did Phillip’s then agency YMU.
“In addition, ITV spoke to a number of people who worked on This Morning and were not provided with, and did not find, any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour.
“Phillip’s statement yesterday reveals that he lied to people at ITV, from senior management to fellow presenters, to YMU, to the media and to others over this relationship.”
In an Instagram post earlier on Monday, Schofield hit back at the critics, saying that there was “no toxicity” on This Morning.
He added: “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.”
Referring to those comments, Holmes instead accused Schofield of “toxicity”. “I think that Phillip is absolutely right about toxicity,” he said.
“But my friend, the toxicity is not with me, Dan Wootton, or anyone else, the toxicity is with you.”
Earlier ITV’s managing director of media and entertainment refused to answer questions about Schofield after being pursued on the street by a GB News producer.
In a segment broadcast on Wootton’s show, producer Ben Leo tracked down ITV’s Kevin Lygo and asked him if there was a “cover-up” of Schofield’s affair with a young male colleague at the station. Mr Lygo walked away from the producer, telling him: “We really have no more to say.”
Asked after a trailer for the interview had aired but before it had been played out in full at around 10.30pm, a spokesman for Schofield said: “Phillip has no comment.”
Schofield's relationship took place while he was still married to his wife, Stephanie Lowe, who is also mother to their two daughters.
It is understood the younger colleague is not in the public eye and did not want their relationship to be known.
In a statement released through the Daily Mail last week, Schofield said: “The first thing I want to say is: I am deeply sorry for having lied to them (the Daily Mail), and to many others about a relationship that I had with someone working on This Morning."
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He continued: “I did have a consensual on-off relationship with a younger male colleague at This Morning.
“Contrary to speculation, whilst I met the man when he was a teenager and was asked to help him to get into television, it was only after he started to work on the show that it became more than just a friendship. That relationship was unwise, but not illegal. It is now over.”
The presenter added: “I am painfully conscious that I have lied to my employers at ITV, to my colleagues and friends, to my agents, to the media and therefore the public, and most importantly of all to my family.
“I am so very, very sorry, as I am for having been unfaithful to my wife.”
ITV has been approached for comment following Holmes' interview.