ITV chief executive defends Phillip Schofield, Holly Willoughby

ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall defended the network’s morning show presenters Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby over allegations they skipped a five-mile queue to see Queen Elizabeth II lying in state two weeks ago.

Since Schofield and Willoughby, who host “This Morning,” were spotted walking the VIP line through Westminster Hall on the state lie’s live feed, the duo have been the subject of much criticism, particularly on social media. A petition titled Ax Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby from TV has garnered over 75,000 signatures.

Speaking at the Royal Television Society (RTS) annual meeting in London on Tuesday afternoon, McCall defended Schofield and Willoughby.

“What exactly did Holly and Phil do wrong?” asked BBC journalist Amol Rajan, who interviewed McCall on stage. “Well, honestly, nothing. Honestly. They had accreditation. Lots of people say they didn’t. They were sent by This Morning to do a play for September 20th, which aired. You should interview people inside and outside. You didn’t push anyone out of the queue. And actually they were very misrepresented and that’s why we made a statement – unusually we made a statement to say all these things – but it shows you how things spread and how misinformation just spreads and it’s real terrible for you.”

“Do you think it’s an example of canceled culture?” Rajan asked.

“Well, they weren’t – well, I mean, they weren’t cancelled, were they?” replied McCall. “I mean, I think they’re very relevant and still very timely, and I think the majority of their viewers love watching them. But there is a very shrill voice against it [them] and it will hurt.”

“How could this get out of hand? Something about them and something about this story really struck a chord. I mean Domino’s Pizza has apologized to everyone waiting for their pizza, we just got an order from Holly and Phil,” Rajan continued, referring to a UK tweet by Domino’s that got over 168,000 likes.

“I know, but you know, we talked [Domino’s]’ McCall said. “They thought it was really funny because they didn’t notice. We just said to them: ‘What are you doing?’ because we work with Domino’s, right. We said: ‘What are you doing?’ And they said, ‘We think it’s really funny, don’t we?’ And we said ‘no’. So I mean, they just thought it was funny. They didn’t think about the impact that would have on how people would take that and start memeing it and, you know, I think that’s what happens with these things – they didn’t do anything wrong. They’ve been with a lot of other broadcasters, many of whom you know, and they’ve been with a lot of press journalists, right.”

McCall also revealed that she texted both Schofield and Willoughby, saying, “I don’t think they’re feeling great, it’s hard,” when Rajan asked how they were feeling. “I mean, you imagine being in the eye of a storm like this when you’re trying to say you didn’t do anything wrong and all the noise around you says you did. It’s difficult to manage.”

The controversy began on September 16 as anchors walked through Westminster Hall in the VIP queue. Outrage began to grow online as social media users claimed the duo were compared to celebrities like David Beckham, James Blunt, Tilda Swinton and Schofield and Willoughby’s ITV stablemate Susanna Reid, who all stood in line for hours, ” queued”. pay their respects.

In particular, critics claimed that Schofield and Willoughby did not have to go into the hall to film a segment (as only the BBC’s live feed cameras already stationed there were allowed in) and that the segment was due to air on 20 September. the day after the Queen’s funeral.

However, when asked if the duo were secure in their posts, McCall was firm, replying: “Yes. Of course.” ITV chief executive defends Phillip Schofield, Holly Willoughby

Charles Jones

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