Following Phillip Schofield’s departure, ITV’s chief executive has been summoned to give evidence in parliament about the broadcaster’s approach to protecting and resolving complaints.
The culture, media, and sport committee (CMS) has asked Dame Carolyn McCall to address questions on Wednesday, June 14.
It comes after ITV announced an external investigation into accusations of a relationship between presenter Schofield and a younger colleague on This Morning.
The committee has already scheduled a separate session on Tuesday next week to examine ITV group director of strategy, policy, and regulation Magnus Brooke, as well as executives from Channel 4 and Channel 5, on the draft Media Bill.
Schofield resigned from ITV this week after admitting to a “unwise but not illegal” connection with a younger male colleague. YMU, a talent agency, also dropped him.
Following his admission, the 61-year-old was removed as an ambassador for The Prince’s Trust charity, and Jane McDonald was announced to take his position as host of the British Soap Awards.
In a letter to Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer, CMS committee chair Dame Caroline Dinenage, and Ofcom chief executive Dame Melanie Dawes, ITV said that it has appointed a barrister to conduct an external examination of the matter.
In a written response, Dame Caroline said the media industry’s “duty of care towards its staff” was “a matter of the highest importance”.
She continued: “Whilst the recent coverage focuses on the Schofield case, it also raises fundamental issues about safeguarding and complaint handling both at ITV and more widely across the media.
“These issues should, particularly in the case of public service broadcasters, be open to scrutiny. The public must have confidence in the robustness of public service broadcasters’ safeguarding procedures.
“Whilst these are issues that we want to discuss first with ITV, we will also consider them in our regular scrutiny sessions with other public service broadcasters, including the BBC later this month and Channel 4 later in the year.”
Following reports Dame Carolyn was asked to appear at the previously scheduled session on Tuesday, it has now been confirmed that hosting the separate meeting on 14 June will allow next week’s event to focus on “its intended purpose of scrutinising the government’s draft Media Bill”.
Schofield initially stated that he was departing This Morning after more than two decades because he had “become the story” because to rumors of a feud between him and co-host Holly Willoughby. The divide was revealed when his brother was sentenced to 12 years in prison for child sex offenses.
At the time of this first announcement, ITV described Schofield as “hands down one of the best broadcasters of his generation” and said they would continue to work with him on other projects, including the soap awards.
However, he was dropped entirely when details of the affair emerged the following week.
Willoughby, 41, is expected to return to the show on Monday, when she returns from holiday, however she has faced fierce criticism and doubts in her claim that she did not know about the affair.
Meanwhile, social media is awash with speculation as to whether or not Schofield ‘groomed’ his lover, after photographs emerged showing that the pair had met whilst his lover was a minor.
Breaking his silence this week, Schofield said he was ‘broken and ashamed’, but insisted ‘I’m not a groomer’.
Talking to The Sun and visibly shaking, Phillip says: “I did not, I did not (groom him).
“There are accusations of all sorts of things. It never came across that way (an abuse of power) because we’d become mates. I don’t know about that.
“But of course I understand that there will be a massive judgment, but bearing in mind, I have never exercised that anywhere else.
“I assume somebody, somewhere, assumed something was going on, correctly, and didn’t say anything.”
“At the time I did not think about it possibly ruining my career. I really probably only thought about it when I saw the rumour mill, and saw it growing.
“Then I saw the link with the drama school photo all those years before, and thought, ‘This looks shocking’.
“But I didn’t lie to protect my career, he didn’t want his name in public. He wanted his own life.
“The lies grew bigger and bigger and bigger and it was affecting both of us deeply.
“It got to the stage where it was out of control and for whatever cost, it had to stop.
“I have massive guilt, and regret. I’ve made a mistake, I’ve had an affair at work.”
Furiously vaping, he added: “I think my greatest apology must go to him.
“It has brought the greatest misery into his totally innocent life, his totally innocent family, his totally innocent friends. It has brought the greatest grief to them.
“I haven’t spoken to him since this s*** show kicked off, but when this was all beginning to get out of control, I paid for his lawyers to independently work on his behalf.
“I am deeply sorry and I apologise to him because I should have known better. I should have acted the way I have always acted. I should not have done it.
“I’m sorry. And I will forever be sorry. I will die sorry. I am so deeply mortified.”