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ITV has said it investigated “rumours of a relationship” between Phillip Schofield and a younger employee – but the pair “repeatedly denied” the affair.

The statement came after questions were raised over what network bosses knew about the conduct of the veteran broadcaster.

Fellow former This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes had said Schofield was “not the only guilty party” and claimed top management “knew what sort of man he was”.

Holmes spoke out after veteran broadcaster Schofield admitted having an “unwise, but not illegal” affair with a much younger male ITV employee while still married and lying about it.

Schofield quit the broadcaster on Friday.

His confession came in a statement published in the Daily Mail shortly before his agents, YMU, also revealed they were parting company with him with immediate effect.

In response to mounting pressure on the broadcaster, an ITV spokesperson said: “Further to our statement last night, 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.

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“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 yesterday 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.”

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Phillip Schofield admits affair

Previously writing on Twitter, Holmes said: “Schofield has finally been caught out… But he’s not the only guilty party. 4 high members of ITV management knew what sort of man he was.”

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In another post, Holmes referred to how Schofield apparently lied to him and his wife, presenter Ruth Langsford.

Eamonn Holmes and Phillip Schofield
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Eamonn Holmes says he was ‘deceived’ by Phillip Schofield. Pic: Rex

He added: “Ruth and I deceived and lied to. One day I will tell the story. We had no issue with him being gay, only support.

“What transpired took us for fools. The man told us complete lies and we unfortunately believed him.”

Separately, BBC presenter and former ITV newscaster Andrea Catherwood tweeted: “A lot more questions about who knew what when at ITV to be answered after this…”

Dermot O’Leary, who has been tipped to replace the former This Morning star said: It’s not appropriate for me to comment.”

Schofield, 61, left the daytime show last week.

‘It is now over’

In a statement on Friday, Schofield said he was “deeply sorry” for lying about the relationship.

He said: “I did have a consensual on-off relationship with a younger male colleague at This Morning.

“Contrary to speculation, whilst I met the man when he was a teenager and was asked to help him to get into television, it was only after he started to work on the show that it became more than just a friendship.

“That relationship was unwise, but not illegal. It is now over.”

It is understood the younger colleague, who is not a public figure, did not want the relationship to be made public.

Holly Willoughby (left) and Phillip Schofield attending the launch of Dancing On Ice 2020, held at Bovingdon Airfield, Hertfordshire. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday December 9, 2019. See PA story SHOWBIZ Ice. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire.
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Schofield’s exit from This Morning came after rumours of a rift with co-host Holly Willoughby

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Schofield leaves This Morning after more than 20 years

Timeline of departure and rumours of rift with co-host Holly
Statements from presenter and his agents in full

The affair took place before Mr Schofield publicly came out as gay in 2020, and while he was still married to his wife Stephanie Lowe.

In a damning statement, his former agents YMU Group said “honesty and integrity” were core values of their business and that their relationships are “based entirely on trust”.

Schofield’s exit from This Morning came after weeks of rumours of a rift between him and his co-presenter Holly Willoughby.

Reports of behind-the-scenes problems between the pair surfaced after his brother Tim Schofield was convicted of child sex offences.

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Russell Brand ‘ripped holes in woman’s tights’ and ‘refused to call her taxi until she performed a sex act’

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Russell Brand 'ripped holes in woman's tights' and 'refused to call her taxi until she performed a sex act'

A woman has told Sky News that Russell Brand made her feel “vulnerable and intimidated” – and alleges he refused to call her a taxi until she performed a sex act.

It comes as new allegations continue to emerge about the comedian’s behaviour, as another organisation cut ties with him.

Sarah, whose name has been changed, claims she met Russell Brand on an aeroplane where he “seemed friendly and charming”.

He invited her for breakfast and a walk after the flight and she agreed to travel in his limousine.

“He changed,” she says, “like he wasn’t friendly and charming in the limo. He was aggressive and I felt very vulnerable and intimidated.”

She describes Brand “jumping” on her.

Cast member Russell Brand arrives at the premiere of "Rock of Ages" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California June 8, 2012. The movie opens in the U.S. on June 15.   REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni  (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
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Russell Brand in 2012. File pic

“The limo driver was turning around a few times because I was saying no, but he ripped a hole – more than one hole – in the tights that I was wearing,” she says.

Sarah says they drove straight to Brand’s house where they had consensual sex.

“I mean, it was consensual. I didn’t say no,” she said, “but I feel like there’s a fine line between being forced and being coerced, you know, like being in a situation where the only way out is just to get it over and done with and leave.”

She claims Brand then refused to call her a taxi until she performed oral sex on him.

“I wanted to leave and I said, ‘I need to get a taxi’. And he said, ‘I’m not going to get you a taxi until you do this’, which was a sex act.”

She describes feeling “really trapped” and wanting to “scale that house.”

Sky News has reached out to Russell Brand’s representatives for comment.

Read more:
The allegations in full
Stars’ past warnings resurface
From drug addict to controversial comedy star

‘No, no, no’

The BBC, meanwhile, has said it is looking into new allegations by another woman who claimed he exposed himself to her.

The woman, whom the BBC is naming ‘Olivia’, said she was working in the same building as Brand 15 years ago in Los Angeles when the incident happened.

She claims she answered the door to Brand and his team, and when she went into the bathroom she noticed he was behind her.

Speaking to the BBC, she claims Brand said he was going to have sex with her, to which she replied “no, you’re not”.

Olivia then alleges Brand showed her his genitals to which she responded with “no, no, no”.

She says she returned to her desk afterwards and texted a BBC employee in the office about what had happened.

The employee told her that he knew because Brand was talking about it in the studio, on Radio 2.

Russell Brand in 2008
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Russell Brand in 2008

In the broadcast, which aired on 21 June 2008, Brand is heard speaking to his co-presenter Matt Morgan about it.

Morgan said: “[It’s been] 25 minutes since he showed his w**** to a lady,” and referred to “the receptionist”.

Brand is apparently heard laughing in the background.

According to the BBC report, Olivia never made a complaint, but management was informed in 2019 and no formal action was taken.

The BBC said it was sorry to hear the allegations and would investigate them as part of a review into Brand’s time at the BBC.

In a statement reported on BBC News, Matt Morgan said: “I was not aware until now of the nature of this encounter.

“I’ve expressed my regrets now looking back at the impact of the show and this is a further example.

“The recent coverage has been very distressing to read and I reiterate my absolute condemnation of any form of the mistreatment of women.”

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Dispatches programme makers speak

‘Open secret’

Comedian Nish Kumar has also spoken out, on his Pod Save The UK podcast, describing the presence of alleged sexual predators as an “open secret” on the comedy scene.

Brand, 48, has previously been accused of rape, sexual assault and abuse by four other women between 2006 and 2013.

He has denied all the claims – saying that his relationships have always been consensual.

The accusations were first reported by the Sunday Times, The Times, and Channel 4’s Dispatches earlier this month.

The Metropolitan Police subsequently said it had received a sexual assault allegation against Brand dating back to 2003.

As a result, a number of organisations have now cut ties with the presenter.

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C4 boss: Brand allegations ‘disgusting’

The latest to end its association with Brand is the Treasures Foundation, which said it had been “extremely saddened” by the allegations.

In a statement, the charity said it was “founded on Christian principles” and is “totally committed to advocating for the voices of women”.

It continues: “As a result of the recent media investigation into Russell Brand, we have made the decision to no longer receive any support from Mr Brand, and the Stay Free Foundation.

“Moving forward our focus remains on the women under our care.”

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Comedian Nish Kumar says presence of sexual predators in industry is ‘open secret’ following Russell Brand allegations

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Comedian Nish Kumar says presence of sexual predators in industry is 'open secret' following Russell Brand allegations

Nish Kumar says young women have been advised to steer clear of dressing rooms used by ‘predators’ still working on the comedy scene.

The comedian also said the knowledge of Russell Brand‘s alleged abuse against young women was “a well-known open secret on the comedy circuit” and he thinks it’s likely “there’s more allegations to come”.

Cast member Russell Brand arrives at the premiere of "Rock of Ages" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California June 8, 2012. The movie opens in the U.S. on June 15.   REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni  (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
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Russell Brand

Brand has been accused of rape, sexual assault and abuse and sexual misconduct by a number of women – claims he vehemently denies.

Speaking on his Pod Save The UK podcast, Kumar said: “This stuff is still happening, there are still people working in comedy who are the subject of open secrets.

“There are still people who work in comedy that we can’t name because again, of the threat of lawsuits. And there are still people working in comedy who people will say, ‘Oh, we don’t send young women into their dressing room’.”

The 38-year-old added: “Now at that stage for me, you should be sacked from that job. If you can’t have someone be around young women, they have no place in any kind of workplace.

“The tolerance of it is something that we are going to have to actually have a reckoning with.”

More on Russell Brand

Kumar, who previously hosted The Mash Report and Late Night Mash – said he first heard about Brand’s alleged wrongdoings in mid-2017, and that “from that point onwards it was well known”.

He said it went on to be discussed by multiple comedians at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2018.

However, he said the “very specific and serious allegation” against Brand that he had first been made aware of was not one that was discussed in the Channel 4 Dispatches programme which aired at the weekend.

For that reason, Kumar said he thinks “it is possible that there’s more allegations to come”.

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Pointing to Brand’s diminishing TV work in the UK after 2019, Kumar said: “That’s simply because increasingly people were just not willing to work with him. Everyone was afraid to talk about it because of the threat of lawsuits, you know?

“And so, the only power people had was to withdraw participation from shows involving Russell Brand.”

Abuse of power is an industry wide problem

He said as a comedian working in the industry, he too felt a sense of “guilt” and “complicity”.

Kumar said: “Watching it as a cisgendered, heterosexual male comedian, you feel a certain sense of guilt and a certain sense of complicity because you’ve been working with production companies and producers who are providing an infrastructure that allows predators to thrive.”

He said the “indulgence” of top talent was “an issue that cuts across all of the industries,” and which needed to be addressed.

Kumar concluded: “The only people to come out of this with anything approaching any credibility are the victims who have been brave enough to step forward and the journalists who have worked extremely hard to produce rigorous pieces of journalism so that they could get around the threats of a very powerful man’s lawyers.”

Read more:
The allegations in full
Stars’ past warnings resurface
From drug addict to controversial comedy star

Brand, 48, was initially accused of rape, sexual assault and abuse by four women with the alleged offences taking place between 2006 and 2013.

The comedian and presenter denies the claims, and says all his relationships have been consensual.

Following the report by the Sunday Times, The Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches, two further women have come forward with allegations against Brand.

The Metropolitan Police says it has received an allegation of sexual assault against him dating back to 2003.

The BBC also says it is looking into allegations by a woman who claims Brand exposed himself to her and then laughed about it afterwards on his Radio 2 show.

In the wake of the claims, numerous companies have cut ties with Brand including his management company, a women’s charity and several of his YouTube sponsors.

Sky News has approached Russell Brand for comment.

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Angus Cloud: Euphoria star’s cause of death revealed as accidental overdose

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Angus Cloud: Euphoria star's cause of death revealed as accidental overdose

Euphoria actor Angus Cloud died from an accidental overdose from a lethal combination of drugs, a California coroner’s report has found.

The 25-year-old was found unresponsive at his family home in Oakland in July.

Cloud died of a lethal mix of methamphetamine, fentanyl, cocaine and benzodiazepines, the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau confirmed to Sky News’ partner network NBC News.

Following his death, Cloud’s mother said on social media that she believed her son “did not intend to end his life,” and said he had been talking about his plans for himself and his family in the hours before he died.

His family also spoke about his battles with mental health, saying, “we hope that his passing can be a reminder to others that they are not alone and should not fight this on their own in silence”.

The actor had been mourning the death of his own father from mesothelioma (a type of cancer) and had travelled to Ireland to bury him the week before his death.

Cloud was best known for playing the drug dealer Fezco opposite Zendaya on hit teen drama show Euphoria.

He was working in a restaurant in Brooklyn, New York, when he was scouted for his first acting role by Euphoria’s casting director.

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Following his death, Euphoria creator Sam Levinson said: “There was no one quite like Angus. He was too special, too talented and way too young to leave us so soon. He also struggled, like many of us, with addiction and depression.

“I hope he knew how many hearts he touched. I loved him. I always will. Rest in peace and God Bless his family.”

:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK.

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