Phillip Schofield scandal: Sir Elton John says response to affair was “totally homophobic”
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Sir Elton John has described the response and backlash Phillip Schofield received after he revealed his affair with a younger male colleague, as “totally homophobic.”
The This Morning presenter made public the information last month where he admitted lying about an “unwise but not illegal” affair with a showrunner, reportedly in his early 20s, whilst still married to his wife, Stephanie Lowe.
Schofield, who was 54 when he says the affair began, subsequently resigned from ITV and was dropped by his agent in the wake of the scandal. He also cast doubts over his future TV career, saying that he had “lost everything”.
However, Sir Elton told the Radio Times in a recent interview that people wouldn’t turn it into a big deal if it involved two straight people. He said: “I feel that the Phillip Schofield thing has been totally homophobic…if it was a straight guy in a fling with a young woman, it wouldn’t even make the papers.”
Sir Elton, an award-winning musician and pioneering LGBTQ rights activist also expressed fears that progress towards equality is “going pear shaped” in the US, citing violence and “disgraceful” laws targeting the marginalised groups enacted in some US states.
He said: “We seem to be going backwards. And that spreads. It’s like a virus that the LGBTQ movement is suffering. I don’t like it at all. It’s a growing swell of anger and homophobia.”
Schofield first met the young man when he visited his drama school aged 15 and had subsequently given him guidance on working in the TV industry. According to him, his colleague was 20 years old when he first had any kind of sexual contact with him.
In an interview, Schofield said that the level of homophobia was a contributing factor in the criticism he was receiving. He said: "I fully appreciate there is a massive age gap, but that happens in life. I think there is an enormous amount of homophobia that happens to be male, but if it was male-female then it wouldn’t be such a scandal.”