- Film And TV
- 20 Jun 23
Media coverage of Phillip Schofield affair receives backlash from Elton John, Rupert Everett, and other LGBTQ+ advocates.
News of well-known television presenter Philip Schofield's resignation from ITV in May has created backlash among some high-profile LGBTQ+ advocates.
Schofield resigned from ITV's This Morning in May following news of his affair with a young male staffer, whom the presenter allegedly hired when the show-member was a teenager. His resignation comes after nearly four decades as a television presenter, and over 20 years at ITV.
Artists such as Sir Elton John and Rupert Everett have criticised media coverage of Schofield, the singer calling it "totally homophobic," and tying this backlash to trends of increasingly homophobic and transphobic legislation in the United States.
John made the comments in an interview with the Radio Times, where he denounced the status of LGBTQ+ rights and individuals in the US, which he compared to the treatment of the former This Morning presenter.
“Well, it’s all going pear-shaped in America. There’s violence, (discriminatory) laws enacted in Florida, which are disgraceful," he remarked. “There’s a law now that, if you visit a doctor in Florida, they can refuse to treat you if you’re gay, which I find just unbelievable.
"We seem to be going backwards. And that spreads. It’s like a virus that the LGBTQ+ movement is suffering. “I don’t like it at all. It’s a growing swell of anger and homophobia that’s around America.
“I don’t know if it’s around Britain because I haven’t been here that much - but I feel that the Phillip Schofield thing has been totally homophobic," the 'Candle in the Wind' singer noted. "If it was a straight guy in a fling with a young woman, it wouldn't even make the papers."
Schofield was dropped by his agents almost immediately following the coverage.
"Honesty and integrity are core values for YMU's whole business, defining everything we do. Talent management is a relationship based entirely on trust," Mary Bekhait, the group CEO of YMU Group, said.
Statements from the network and Schofield's fellow TV presenters have been careful to focus on the denial of the affair rather than the gender of the young staffer as the key factor.
A spokesman for ITV said in a statement following the announcement of his resignation, "We are deeply disappointed by the admissions of deceit made tonight by Phillip Schofield... The relationships we have with those we work with are based on trust. Phillip made assurances to us which he now acknowledges were untrue and we feel badly let down."
In his decades-long career as a TV and radio presenter, Schofield hosted shows on the Children's BBC before moving to ITV, where he hosted I'm a Celebrity... Get Me out of Here!, and ran feature coverage of events Kate and William's royal wedding, the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.
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