Eamonn Holmes today branded Phillip Schofield ‘delusional’ after the under-fire host issued a statement insisting there had been ‘no toxicity’ at This Morning.
The daytime show was plunged into meltdown on Friday after Schofield admitted to lying about his relationship with a much younger colleague, with ITV losing millions of pounds in sponsorship deals.
In a bombshell intervention today, Schofield, 61, attacked those who had claimed there was toxicity behind the scenes at the programme, accusing them of holding grudges.
Holmes – who previously helped present This Morning but now works for GB News – has since issued a scathing response to the statement and said that if Schofield was ‘looking for a fight’ he had ‘picked on the wrong person’.
The 63-year-old tweeted: ‘Schofield has just put out a delusional statement. Like Holly he puts it on Insta Stories so if it goes wrong there is no record after 24 hrs. I’m reluctant to give the liar any more publicity but believe me Pip if u r looking for a fight , u have picked on the wrong person!’
Eamonn Holmes today slammed Philip Schofield for issuing a ‘delusional’ statement about the scandal at This Morning
Holmes said that if Schofield was ‘looking for a fight’ he had ‘picked the wrong person’
Speaking out for the first time since leaving the show today, Schofield hit out at those ‘with a grudge against me’
Holmes has been critic of Schofield for a number of years, believing he would get his ‘comeuppance’ for the way he’s treated others – including wife Ruth Langsford.
It comes as This Morning’s former resident doctor Dr Ranj Singh hit out at the show’s ‘toxic’ culture, claiming last night that he raised concerns about ‘bullying and discrimination’ two years ago when he worked there and afterwards felt like he was ‘managed out’ for whistleblowing.
Schofield addressed the claims in a statement on Instagram today, writing: ‘Now I no longer work on This Morning I am free to say this.
‘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.
‘This Morning IS the best show to work on, with the best people. In all the years I worked there there was no toxicity. You can listen to those persistently loud voices if you like.
‘But the thousands of guests over the years, thousands of staff and crew, hundreds of presenters and contributors all know it, it IS a family of wonderful, talented, kind, hard working people.’
In a statement yesterday, Dr Ranj said the ‘issues’ at This Morning go ‘far beyond’ the host.
He said: ‘I was on the show for 10 years and I genuinely loved and valued working there.
‘However, over time, I grew increasingly worried about how things were behind-the-scenes and how people, including myself, were being treated.
‘I didn’t know the truth about what was going on with Phillip, but I do know the issues with TM (This Morning) go far beyond him.
‘It takes more than one person to create a culture.’
Today, the show’s new hosts tried to put a lid on the backlash by saying how much they ‘loved’ making the programme. O’Leary said: ‘We love making this show for all of you,’ to which Hammond added: ‘That’s what we’re going to continue to do’
Guest Gyles Brandreth then said: ‘This is a happy place to be. I enjoy being here. We’re happy people in a happy place with some interesting stories’
Dr Ranj said he raised his concerns with senior executives at ITV as he had been heavily involved in ‘diversity, anti-bullying and mental health projects’ across the channel.
‘I then found myself being used less and less,’ he continued.
‘I even took my concerns directly to the top of ITV: the culture at This Morning had become toxic, no longer aligned with ITV values, and I felt like because I whistle-blew I was managed out.
‘But as history and experience have taught us, things like bullying and discrimination are very hard to prove, particularly in hindsight and when the ‘people in power’ control the narrative.
‘As we’ve seen, no review or investigation is foolproof.’
The doctor said he was assured that things would be addressed and changes made but he has not worked on the show since, adding it ‘still hurts’ two years on from lodging complaints.
In a blow to ITV, This Morning’s biggest sponsor Arnold Clark has announced it will not be renewing its existing multi-million-pound deal with the channel in autumn as planned.
The car dealer’s multi-year deal with This Morning began in September 2021, but the car dealer has confirmed it will not be renewed when the contract ends later this year.
A source told The Sun: ‘There is a lot of speculation about This Morning’s future and some staff are concerned about their jobs.
‘Phil’s admission of deceit has plunged ITV into a crisis which it has never been faced with before.
‘It is widely known internally that they have lost over £2million in sponsorship deals since Phil’s affair became public.
‘Arnold Clark, who are the main sponsors of This Morning, are also reconsidering their position.
‘Brands do not feel ITV is a safe bet at the moment.’
Schofield and Holly Willoughby presented together for 13 years
Car dealer Arnold Clark, the show’s biggest sponsor, has announced it will not be renewing its existing multi-million-pound deal with the channel in autumn as planned
Another source told The Mirror: ‘The next few weeks will be a desperate bid to save the show – and the jobs of the execs.
‘Fingers are being pointed at the top brass, even though he admitted he lied to all of them.
‘The show’s wholesome image is clearly tarnished, but bullish ITV execs are not going to just throw the baby out with the bath water.
‘They are determined to prove that the brand is stronger than any single presenter, and that they can give it a fresh start after Schofield.’
This Morning has been surrounded by chaos since Schofield was forced to admit in a statement to the Daily Mail on Friday that he had lied about his relationship with the younger man to ITV, his lawyers, his talent agency and his co-star of 14 years.
Last night the scandal showed no signs of easing with new photos emerging of a smiling Schofield with his former lover and Willoughby in 2018 as they left a This Morning Live event.
And the Mail revealed that while ITV insists that it held an investigation into the men’s relationship when rumours began to circulate in 2020, the host’s former lover said he had never been quizzed over the matter.
Holly Willoughby is understood to be battling to maintain her presenting role on the show and hopes to ride out the scandal.
She has currently been off-air since Schofield’s sudden departure, however, this was due to planned holiday for the school half term break.
The presenter of 14-years is expected to make a return to the programme on Monday, June 5.
But Willoughby is facing calls for her to also leave the show, with former culture secretary Nadine Dorries who claimed the much-loved presenter ‘has questions to answer’.
Dr Ranj said he had taken his concerns to ‘the top’ of ITV but that he felt he had been ‘managed out’
In a lengthy Instagram post, Dr Ranj Singh said he had ‘thought long and hard’ before weighing in on the ongoing scandal
The television medic confirmed that he had taken concerns about the behaviour of editors and senior producers to ITV and had then seen his screentime drop
Since Schofield dramatically left the programme earlier this month, photos of the long-time host have been removed from ITV studios in White City.
A large framed picture of Schofield which hung in the TV Centre in London where the show is filmed was also removed.
Some have called for the mid-morning show to be cancelled all together, with the editor who launched it 36 years ago calling for it to ‘die with dignity’ yesterday evening.
Dianne Nelmes said the show had become ‘tired’ and was now ‘shipwrecked on scandal’.
She added: ‘The situation is very sad. Whatever has gone on, Phillip has been a stalwart presenter of the show.
‘I don’t think that Holly can hold this show on her own, not even with Alison Hammond which is said to be the favoured outcome. I don’t think Holly can handle it. Phil will be missed.’