Public relations experts are questioning the media approach Phillip Schofield is taking in the wake of a major fallout over his affair with a younger colleague, with one saying he has “either not had good advice, or he’s not taken it.”

Over the past two days, Schofield has appeared in interviews with The Sun and The BBC – his first appearances after his admission of an affair with a younger colleague.

In an interview with The BBC‘s Amol Rajan today, the former This Morning host said he had “lost everything” following the revelations, asking: “Do you want me to die? Because that’s where I am. I have lost everything.”

He also denied he had ever had a sexual relationship with his former lover when he was underage and urged the media to leave the former colleague “alone now”.

Schofield was dropped from his talent agency YMU after admitting he lied to the company about the affair. Schofield’s daughter, Molly Schofield, reportedly still works at the agency.

Schofield is said to be legally represented by media lawyer Jonathan Coad at present – he has previously hired some big names for crisis management. It is unclear if he has any additional PR representation at present.

When his fallout with former co-presenter Holly Willoughby hit the news Schofield hired Gordon Smart, a former showbusiness columnist from The Sun and occasional Good Morning host, The Daily Mail reported. He has also reportedly used News of The World bosses Phil Taylor and Phil Taylor to deal with crises.

Sean O’Meara, public relations consultant and founder of Essential Content said he thought it was unwise for Schofield to have spoken in a televised media interview so soon after the admission.

“Some of the optics and some of the things he is saying are the sorts of things I would expect an experienced media/PR professional to advise him not to do – that’s not to say he hasn’t been advised.

“My instincts from watching the BBC is that he’s either not had particularly good advice, or he has had good advice and he’s not taken it or not remembered it.”

According to Mr O’Meara, the wide reach of the outlets Schofield had talked to – The Sun and The BBC – suggested there could have been publicist planning behind the scenes. However, Mr O’Meara added that some of the things Schofield said pointed away from this theory, including leaning into a sense of “victimhood” in some of his answers.

He said the general approach in crisis management was to let the media storm and the dust settle and it was better to approach interviews in a calm state of mind with key talking points.

“I would certainly say – now is not the time to be speaking to the media for your own wellbeing and for the strategy…Yes, you want to put your side of the story across, but there is a person in this situation that is being overlooked.

“A) Talking to the media is stressful at the best of times – especially in the middle of a crisis and B), it invites feedback, criticism and speculation.”

Mr O’Meara said while it was tempting for people to provide “their side of the story”, giving these revealing one-on-one interviews effectively “kept the story alive”, rather than letting it die down for all involved.

“As soon as Schofield says anything, the story is at the top of everyone’s mind. So if I am the other person in that relationship, that does value their privacy, I would be thinking: please, just stop doing interviews.”

Luana Ribeira, managing director of Dauntless PR, agreed: “I am not sure there even is a clear strategy. It looks like he is panicking.

“Maybe he believes that if he stays silent people would assume he is guilty…but I think what he wants to do by doing the BBC interview, is to gain public sympathy.”

In his statement admitting the affair, published first in The Daily Mail, Schofield said he was “deeply sorry” for lying to his friends, family, and former colleagues about the affair. “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.”

By admin