MP blasts This Morning editor Martin Frizell for ‘disrespectful’ response

This Morning editor Martin Frizell has been criticised by an MP for his “deeply inappropriate and disrespectful” answer to questions about allegations of a “toxic” work environment at ITV.

Frizell was approached by Sky News ahead of Holly Willoughby’s return to the show following the furore over Phillip Schofield’s departure from ITV and his admission of an affair with a younger colleague.

Asked if there is a “toxic” work environment at This Morning, he replied: “I’ll tell you what’s toxic and I’ve always found it toxic. Aubergine. Do you like aubergine? Do you? Do you like aubergine because I don’t like aubergine. It’s just a personal thing.”

John Nicolson MP, a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, tweeted: “This is a deeply inappropriate and disrespectful way to respond to questions about safeguarding vulnerable staff and bullying in the workplace at ITV.”

Former This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes and former resident doctor Dr Ranj Singh have both made allegations of a “toxic” culture behind the scenes.

Holmes has alleged there was a “total cover-up” over the Schofield affair, while Dr Ranj said he raised concerns about “bullying and discrimination” two years ago when he worked there and afterwards felt like he was “managed out” for whistleblowing.

In a letter from ITV boss Dame Carolyn McCall to Parliament on Wednesday, she said an external review conducted following a complaint made by Dr Ranj found “no evidence of bullying or discrimination”.

Meanwhile, former This Morning head of news Emily Maddick, who worked on the show from September to December 2019, claimed she quit the programme due to “bullying, sexism and a toxic culture of fear and intimidation”.

On Saturday, Frizell told a Sky News reporter to “read between the lines” amid claims of toxicity, adding: “I think there’s some scores being settled.”

Dame Carolyn has been called to a parliamentary committee on June 14 to answer questions about the broadcaster’s approach to safeguarding and complaint handling following Schofield’s exit.

She has confirmed she has instructed barrister Jane Mulcahy KC of Blackstone Chambers to carry out an external review of the facts.

Magnus Brooke, ITV’s director of strategy, policy and regulation, could face questioning from MPs over the This Morning row when he appears in front of the select committee on June 6 for a hearing due to focus on the draft Media Bill.

SNP MP Mr Nicolson has previously said that he is looking forward to “getting some answers” from ITV bosses about the Schofield scandal.