Who is Martin Frizell? This Morning editor criticised by ITV for ‘ill-judged’ comments on show’s culture
When asked by reporters whether the crisis-hit programme had a toxic environment, Martin Frizell responded: “I’ll tell you what’s toxic - aubergine"
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A senior ITV executive has said it was “extremely ill-judged” for the editor of This Morning - Martin Frizell - to respond to questions about allegations of a “toxic” work environment on the programme with comments about aubergines.
Magnus Brooke was questioned about the row during a Parliamentary committee hearing. Last month, veteran This Morning host Phillip Schofield, 61, admitted to an “unwise, but not illegal” relationship with a younger male colleague who was 15 when they first met, before quitting the station.
Frizell was approached by reporters ahead of Holly Willoughby’s return to the show on Monday (5 June) and asked if there was a “toxic” work environment at This Morning - in response to recent claims by former co-workers Eamonn Holmes and Dr Ranj.
He replied: “I’ll tell you what’s toxic and I’ve always found it toxic. Aubergine. Do you like aubergine? Do you? Do you like aubergine because I don’t like aubergine. It’s just a personal thing”.
Two days earlier, Frizell told a Sky News reporter to “read between the lines” amid claims of toxicity, adding: “I think there’s some scores being settled”.
But who exactly is Martin Frizell, and what has the response been to his comments? Here is everything you need to know:
Who is Martin Frizell?
Martin Frizell is originally from Glasgow, the Scotsman reports. The 64-year-old producer and editor studied journalism at Edinburgh Napier University, and has worked in the news industry for 30 years.
He began his career as a researcher for the BBC, before working as a correspondent for news agency Reuters, and Australian breakfast show Channel 7 Sunrise.
Frizell then spent 10 years as an editor for GMTV, but left after ITV bought the channel out, the Scotsman said. He briefly worked in PR as an executive producer at GolinHarris, before joining Loose Women as an editor before taking up his current position at This Morning.
He is married to journalist and broadcaster Fiona Phillips, and the couple have two children.
What has the response been to his 'aubergine' comments?
MP John Nicolson asked ITV group director of strategy Magnus Brooke about Frizzell’s remarks during a meeting of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee this morning (6 June).
Brooke told the committee: “I wouldn’t endorse what he said”, adding the comments were “extremely ill-judged”.
He added: “I can reassure you on behalf of ITV that we do take all of these allegation very seriously precisely because we do have a culture where people’s conduct matters enormously”.
Asked if Frizell’s position was secure, Mr Brooke said: “That is not a question for me and not a question for now”.
ITV’s chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall will give evidence to the same committee on 14 June, to answer questions about the broadcaster’s approach to safeguarding and complaint handling following Schofield’s exit.