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05th Jun 2023

Phillip Schofield slammed for using ‘vulnerable mother for photo opportunity’

Steve Hopkins

‘Ruthless, utterly ruthless’

Phillip Schofield’s behaviour is being questioned again after pictures emerged of the moment he reportedly told his 87-year-old mother he was getting sacked by ITV while sitting on a park bench.

The images were published Sunday in The Sun, the publication he first spoke to about his affair with a younger male colleague that has engulfed him since he left the show, seemingly over a feud with co-presenter Holly Willoughby, who returns today. The pictures were also featured in the Mail.

The Sun said the images were taken in Newquay, Cornwall, just moments after the 61-year-old told her he had been axed by ITV, on May 19, and a week before he admitted his affair.

The newspaper said Schofield had just received a phone call from his manager telling him his time on This Morning was over.

He reportedly drove his mum to their favourite fish and chip shop in the town centre, where they picked up a takeaway before heading out to beauty spot Pentire Headland on a cliff.

The images, revealed the day before Willoughby, 42, returns to the ITV sofa and after Schofield gave two videoed interviews where he spoke about “losing everything” ,”seeing nothing ahead of be but blackness”, and fearing he would be spat on in the street – have not been well received.

Barrister, Dr Charlotte Proudman, suggested Schofield had used his “vulnerable” mother for a “photo opportunity”.

Another Twitter user, Sue Evison, sympathised with Schofield’s mother who she suggested was probably still dealing with the fact his brother, Timothy, had been jailed last month for 12 years for sexually abusing a young boy.

“How awful for his elderly mother. Her son has just been sent to prison as a paedophile and there she is being plastered all over the papers with her other son, because he lied about an inappropriate relationship,” she wrote in a thread of tweets where she also branded Schofield “utterly ruthless”.

Another commenter suggested “any decent son” would object to this, when another Twitter user suggested he doubted this was “all Phil’s doing”.

However, one person put the blame squarely on the media saying the “media frenzy has been intrusive and disgusting”.

Over the weekend Jeremy Clarkson wrote that he was “baffled” by the reaction to Schofield’s departure from ITV and subsequent revelations, calling it a “witch hunt”.

Writing in the Sunday Times, Clarkson said: “He maintains that his lover was over the age of consent when their relationship became physical, but that hasn’t silenced the howls of disgust.

“And I find that weird. We casually roll our eyes when we hear that Leonardo DiCaprio’s new girlfriend is three and we even nod appreciatively when we learn that the age gap between Al Pacino and his pregnant girlfriend is 54 years.”

Schofield said the relationship was consensual and it began in his dressing room in 2017 when the man was 20. Earlier he labelled the affair, “unwise but not illegal”.

The star met the man – who has not been publicly named – when he was 15. He was 19 when he first did work experience at This Morning in 2015, and 20 when he applied and succeeded in securing a job as a runner on the show. In 2019, he was promoted to Loose Women and left ITV in 2021.

Schofield has denied grooming the man and said the affair did not begin until the man was 20 after “something just happened between us that changed everything”.

Related links:

Holly Willoughby expected to address Phillip Schofield scandal in ’emotional’ This Morning return

‘Baffled’ Jeremy Clarkson defends Phillip Schofield from ‘witch hunt’

Caroline Flack’s mum slams ITV for treatment of Phillip Schofield

Phillip Schofield reveals he’s too scared to leave his house over fears he’ll be spat on

Phillip Schofield says his ‘hands are blistered’ from vaping so much