‘Baffled’ Jeremy Clarkson defends Phillip Schofield from ‘witch hunt’
By Charlie Herbert
The Grand Tour host has said he has “never seen a witch hunt like it".
Jeremy Clarkson has described the criticism against Phillip Schofield as a "witch hunt", saying he has been left “baffled” by the reaction to the presenter’s past affair with a younger male colleague.
In a Sunday Times column, The Grand Tour host stated that he has “no skin in the fight” as he does not know Schofield but defended the former This Morning presenter.
Clarkson wrote in the newspaper: “He maintains that his lover was over the age of consent when their relationship became physical but that hasn’t silenced the howls of disgust."
The motoring specialist added that he finds the controversy "weird", particularly when compared to the public's more muted reaction to reports of Al Pacino and Leonardo DiCaprio's relationships with younger women.
Referring to the scandal surrounding Schofield, Clarkson said he has “never seen a witch hunt like it,” continuing:
“Everyone who’s ever walked past him in the street must be sacked as well. And those who paid his wages or sat next to him in the studio must be hauled into televised committees so that bramble bushes can be inserted into their bottoms.
“I’ve never seen a witch-hunt like it, and what baffles me most of all is that, as things stand, no crime has been committed.
“I don’t know him at all well and have no skin in the game, but it seems to me he is only guilty of being what he said he was: gay.”
Clarkson also said he does not believe ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall would have had any knowledge of Schofield's affair with the young studio runner.
In an interview last week, Schofield said that homophobia was a significant factor in the backlash to the age gap between him and his former lover.
Speaking to the BBC earlier this week, the former This Morning presenter said he believed that if his affair had been a “male-female” relationship then “it wouldn’t be such a scandal.”
Meanwhile, in a separate interview with The Sun, the 61-year-old made the same point, stating: “It’s accepted by Leonardo DiCaprio, it’s not accepted if it’s in the gay world.
“Attraction is attraction. It’s no different in the gay world as it is in the heterosexual world or in the lesbian world. There shouldn’t be a difference. This is where homophobia comes in.”
Just over a week ago, the former This Morning presenter confessed to lying to his former employee about the affair but said it was “unwise but not illegal”.
The star met the younger colleague – who has not been publicly named – when he was 15. The latter was 19 when he first did work experience at This Morning in 2015 and 20 when he applied and succeeded in securing a job as a runner on the show. In 2019, he was promoted to Loose Women and left ITV in 2021.
Schofield has denied grooming the man and said the affair did not begin until the younger colleague was 20 after “something just happened" that "changed everything”. The ex-This Morning presenter has also stated that the affair was “consensual.”
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