ITV Boss Brands This Morning Producer's Response To Toxicity Question 'Extremely Ill-Judged'

Martin Frizell discussed his dislike of aubergine when asked about allegations of a "toxic" workplace at This Morning.
Martin Frizell on the set of This Morning in 2015
Martin Frizell on the set of This Morning in 2015
Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

An ITV boss has criticised This Morning producer Martin Frizell for the way he responded to a question about allegations of a “toxic” environment at the daytime show.

Following Phillip Schofield’s departure from This Morning last month, former contributor Dr Ranj Singh hit out at what he described as the show’s “toxic” work culture, while former anchor Eamonn Holmes has also criticised the show on a number of occasions.

ITV quickly dismissed these claims, while Schofield himself also maintained: “This Morning is the best show to work on, with the best people. In all the years I worked there was no toxicity.”

This Morning host Holly Willoughby
This Morning host Holly Willoughby
Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

On Monday, a reporter for Sky News approached the show’s editor Martin Frizell about the supposed “toxic” environment, to which he responded with a comment about his dislike of aubergine.

“I tell you what’s toxic, and I’ve always found toxic is aubergine,” Frizell responded, before questioning the reporter about whether they were a fan of it. He added: “I don’t like aubergine. It’s just a personal thing.”

The following morning, ITV’s group director of strategy, policy and regulation Magnus Brooke attended a hearing of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee to discuss the draft Media Bill.

During the hearing, MP John Nicolson referred to Frizell’s remarks as “outrageously dismissive and flippant” with regards to “an immensely serious issue”, with Brooke agreeing that the This Morning editor’s comments had been “extremely ill-judged”.

“I can reassure you on behalf of ITV that we do take all of these allegations very seriously precisely because we do have a culture where people’s conduct matters enormously,” Brooke added.

Asked if Frizell’s position at This Morning is secure, Brooke insisted: “That is not a question for me and not a question for now.”

This Morning has been dominating the headlines in recent weeks after Phillip Schofield’s exit, which preceded his public admission that he had an affair with a younger colleague.

ITV previously said in a statement: “ITV can confirm that when rumours of a relationship between Phillip Schofield and an employee of ITV first began to circulate in early 2020 ITV investigated.

“Both parties were questioned and both categorically and repeatedly denied the rumours as did Phillip’s then agency YMU.

“In addition, ITV spoke to a number of people who worked on This Morning and were not provided with, and did not find, any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour.

“Phillip’s statement [...] reveals that he lied to people at ITV, from senior management to fellow presenters, to YMU, to the media and to others over this relationship.”

ITV has since instructed a barrister to carry out an external review of the facts following Phillip’s This Morning exit and subsequent press statements.


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