This Morning editor on toxic culture claims: There are some scores being settled

The editor praised the ITV staff for handling the situation but has asked for respite after weeks of developments.

This Morning editor Martin Frizell has said “scores are being settled” when asked about claims of a toxic work environment at the ITV show.

In the wake of Phillip Schofield’s resignation after admitting an affair with a younger male colleague, former This Morning employees hit out at the broadcaster criticising the work place culture.

On Saturday, Mr Frizell told Sky News to “read between the lines” amid claims of toxicity at This Morning.

“I think there’s some scores being settled,” he said.

The show’s former resident doctor, Dr Ranj Singh, previously hit out at a “toxic” culture, saying he raised concerns about “bullying and discrimination” two years ago when he worked there and afterwards felt like he was “managed out” for whistleblowing.

In a letter from ITV boss Dame Carolyn McCall to parliament on Wednesday, she said an external review conducted following a complaint made by Dr Ranj found “no evidence of bullying or discrimination”.

Meanwhile Eamonn Holmes, who previously presented This Morning on Fridays with wife Ruth Langsford until 2020, accused Schofield of “toxicity” in an interview with Dan Wootton on GB News earlier this week.

It also comes a day after Emily Maddick, who worked as This Morning’s head of news from September to December 2019, claimed she quit the programme due to “bullying, sexism and a toxic culture of fear and intimidation”.

Writing for Glamour magazine, where she now works, Ms Maddick shared extracts from her 2019 exit interview requested from ITV’s HR department after handing in her resignation, which stated there was a “culture of intimidation at This Morning”.

In the piece, she also wrote: “Did I experience a toxic atmosphere? Yes. Sexism? Yes. Bullying? Yes. Homophobia? Yes.”

On Saturday, Mr Frizell said: “All I want to say is, I am working with a fantastic team of mainly women, many mums, a lot of them concerned for their jobs, although we’ve told them not to be.

“But this is the 23rd day now of being on the front page and it’s tiring, they worked all through Covid brilliantly, they worked all through this putting a programme out…and I just think they need a bit of respite now.”

Phillip Schofield talks to Amol Rajan on the BBC
Phillip Schofield said he has ‘lost everything’ in the wake of his affair with a younger male colleague in an interview with the BBC (BBC/PA)

His comments come after 61-year-old Schofield said he was afraid to leave the house and feared he would be spat on in the street in a new interview with the Sun newspaper.

He said: “I don’t have any spirit. My friends tell me, ‘It will get better’. It won’t. Not now. Not this one.

“I am getting by hour by hour. I have got my girls and my friends.”

He previously said he had “lost everything” after admitting to the affair, and that the fallout had had a “catastrophic effect” on his mind during a broadcast interview with BBC’s Amol Rajan.

Schofield, who said he was “utterly broken and ashamed” but denied he had “groomed” the younger man, praised his daughters Ruby and Molly for “guarding him”.

Caroline Flack apology
Caroline Flack was found dead in February 2020 at the age of 40 (Matt Crossick/PA)

“Last week, if my daughters hadn’t been there then I wouldn’t be here. And they’ve guarded me and won’t let me out of their sight, it’s like a weird numbness,” he said.

Referring to the Love Island host who took her own life in February 2020, he added: “I think I understand how Caroline Flack felt.”

Flack’s mother, Christine Flack, told the BBC’s Newsnight programme that Schofield was now “realising even more” what her daughter went through before her death and that they should have been “looked after” by ITV.

During the BBC interview, Schofield also spoke about his friend and This Morning co-presenter Holly Willoughby, confirming she knew nothing of the affair.

Willoughby, who had presented the show alongside Schofield since 2009, is due to return to the show on Monday after the half-term break, having taken an early holiday following Schofield’s departure.

Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary have been among the presenters hosting the programme in recent weeks.

ITV boss Dame Carolyn has been called to a parliamentary committee on June 14 to answer questions about the broadcaster’s approach to safeguarding and complaint handling following Schofield’s exit.

On Wednesday, she confirmed the broadcaster had instructed barrister Jane Mulcahy KC of Blackstone Chambers to carry out an external review of the facts.

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