ITV commissioned the review following Phillip Schofield's departure from This Morning, ITV News Correspondent Rachel Younger reports
There was "no finding of a 'toxic' culture" at ITV programme This Morning, an external review has found, following allegations around Phillip Schofield and his relationship with a younger colleague.
ITV made "considerable efforts" to determine the truth about the relationship between Phillip Schofield and a younger member of the This Morning team, the review said.
"There was a lot of unfair, inaccurate and damaging speculation about This Morning’s culture. The plc Board met with the KC this week and she told us: “there is no finding of a “toxic” culture, and had there been one, I would have said so”, Kyla Mullins General Counsel and Company Secretary at ITV said in an email to staff.
Mr Schofield stepped down from This Morning on May 20, leaving with immediate effect after more than 20 years on the ITV programme.
ITV commissioned the review following Phillip Schofield's departure from This Morning and the admission he had lied about an affair with a younger colleague.
The broadcaster's chief executive announced Jane Mulcahy KC was tasked with carrying out an external review in a letter to broadcasting regulator Ofcom and the culture secretary on May 31.
Mulcahy wrote in her review that “only one person” she spoke to, who was a former junior employee, had “any knowledge of an affair between” Schofield and his younger colleague - named “PX” in the report - prior to May 2023.
The employee said they became aware of the relationship in 2021. However, they did not report their knowledge at the time.
“Nor did others report suspicions from much earlier in 2017,” her report continued.
She said this led her to "emphasise" in her recommendations set out in the report the importance of ITV's junior employees having the confidence to raise concerns to management.
"I have no doubt that senior management are absolutely wedded to the importance of an open culture," Mulcahy adds.
"But this culture is still not filtering down to junior employees, many of whom remain convinced that to speak out will have a detrimental impact on their careers."
Schofield “reluctantly declined” to take part in the external review because of “the risk to his health,” the report says.
ITV plc's chairman Andy Cosslett welcomed the findings and the review's recommendations.
"The KC makes it clear that the senior management of ITV and the senior team of This Morning were unaware of the nature of the relationship until PS’s statement in May 2023," Mr Cosslett said.
"We also asked the KC to review how we acted towards Person X and the KC has found that the company provided significant support to him."
“I hope that the completion of this review allows the team at This Morning to get back to what they do so well - making a brilliant show that entertains and informs millions of viewers every week,” Mr Cosslett added.
The review followed reports of a breakdown in relations between Schofield and Willoughby.
Shortly after Mr Schofield left This Morning, ITV said it "did not find any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour" when it investigated claims of an affair between Phillip Schofield and a younger colleague.
A spokesperson for the broadcaster said: “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.
“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.”
Mr Schofield was reportedly scared to leave the house after the revelation of his affair with a younger male colleague due to the treatment he had faced.
The former This Morning presenter, 61, previously said he had “lost everything” after admitting to the affair, and the fallout had had a “catastrophic effect” on his mind.
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