The mother of the late television host Caroline Flack, who took her own life three years ago, has issued a heartfelt plea to Phillip Schofield: “Wait to see what happens and don’t do anything stupid.”
The disgraced former This Morning host has hinted at having suicidal thoughts, saying that his daughters saved his life after he admitted having lied to his bosses to cover up his affair with a younger colleague.
Schofield compared himself to the former Love Island presenter, who died by suicide in 2020 after learning she would be prosecuted for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend.
When asked in a BBC interview how he was feeling, Schofield said: “I think I understand how Caroline Flack felt.”
Christine Flack, Caroline’s mother, claimed that ITV had not learnt lessons from her daughter’s death, and alleged that the channel “treats presenters as commodities”.
ITV bosses say they were “badly let down” by Schofield, who told the BBC on Friday that he does not believe he will ever work in television again.
“What am I going to do with my days? I see nothing ahead of me but blackness, and sadness, and regret, and remorse, and guilt. I did something very wrong, and then I lied about it consistently.”
He said the “relentless” reports about him were having a “catastrophic effect” on his mind, adding: “Do you want me to die? Because that’s where I am. I have lost everything.”
When asked about Schofield’s comments on BBC Newsnight, Ms Flack said that was how Caroline felt. “Every day she would try to be a bit stronger, which I should imagine Phillip is. But you get more and more thrown at you.
“It’s not only him, it is his daughters. Luckily he’s got them there for support ... Everybody suffers – but not as much as him.”
Ms Flack said Schofield, who knew Caroline and was very upset when she died, was “realising even more now what she went through”. He must put his side of the story, otherwise it’s just speculation, she added.
“I hope he’s done the right thing. I hope he feels better. I hope people now will let it settle. He’s lost his job, he’s lost his world. I think that’s enough for anybody.”
Ms Flack claimed that ITV had not learnt anything from her daughter’s death about its duty of care to its staff.
“They treat them as commodities. I know it’s a lovely job and they earn money. But also the television stations earn money from them.
“But they’re not commodities, they’re people. And they’re employed. And if my employer didn’t take care of me, there’d be all hell to pay. And there’s not. They’re just sidelined, and they’re not protected.
“They could have someone speaking for him really, whether he did right or wrong.”
By admitting he had lied to ITV, his agent and friends, Schofield had safeguarded them, said Ms Flack. “I can’t imagine a group of people working that close that weren’t aware of something. I hate the thought that Phillip and this young man are going through such an awful time.
“Wait to see what happens. Let’s hope for the best. I send my regards to Phillip and the young lad, and hope they get over this. Don’t do anything silly.”
ITV co-presenter Alison Hammond broke down in tears while discussing Schofield’s BBC interview.
In response to Ms Flack’s comments about Schofield’s situation, ITV said: “The relationships we have with those we work with are based on trust. Phillip made assurances to us and his agency, which he now acknowledges were untrue, and we feel badly let down.
“As a producer and broadcaster, ITV takes its responsibilities around duty of care seriously, and has robust and well-established processes in place to support the mental and physical health of employees and all those we work with.”
If you are experiencing feelings of distress, or are struggling to cope, you can speak to the Samaritans, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.
If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.
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