Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby’s ‘queue jumping’ backlash sparks petition to remove hosts from TV
ITV has denied the presenting duo jumped the queue.
A petition to axe Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby from TV has been launched after the presenting duo appeared to jump the queue to see the Queen's coffin.
Schofield, 60, and Willoughby, 41, have faced a barrage of abuse since they avoided the long line to Westminster Hall on Friday - the same day that David Beckham queued for 13 hours to go and pay his respects to the Queen.
One TalkTV host even branded Schofield a "prat", and some Twitter users threatened to boycott This Morning for what they branded "despicable" behaviour.
On Saturday, This Morning bosses took to social media to clarify why the presenting duo didn't queue to see the Queen's coffin.
"They did not jump the queue, have VIP access or file past the Queen lying in state," the statement said, "but instead were there in a professional capacity as part of the world media to report on the event."
Despite this, a petition has been launched on Change.org calling for Schofield and Willoughby to be axed from TV and for This Morning to be cancelled - branding the show "damaging".
Laura Harrison, who started the petition, wrote: "Thousands of people are lining up overnight to pay respects to the Queen, where they will likely wait up to 24 hours. Yet Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield, two hosts of one of the most damaging to mental health day time tv show This Morning, were able to push past those thousands and get immediate access.
"ITV should be ashamed of exploiting the situation. I'd like to see This Morning axed for good as I do believe it causes more harm than good, without people noticing. For example, like turning cost of living anxiety into a game show. At the least though, these toxic presenters Holly and Philip should finally be removed from our TV screens. They monopolised way too long.
"If you agree please sign. If enough people sign we can show ITV that the public do matter. And these two idiots don't deserve our time."
She added: "PS. It doesn't matter about your feelings on the monarchy, its about the TV show being toxic and these presenters being given privileges that deprive others, and humiliate their own viewers in the process. In the same way Jeremy Kyle's show did. "
The petition has been signed over 5,600 times in just a few days.
Speaking out about the backlash, an ITV spokesperson said: "This Morning had press accreditation and like other media, Phillip and Holly were escorted to work from the press gallery by government staff. They did not file past The Queen's coffin. They were there alongside a host of other broadcasters and national press outlets for an item that will be broadcast on Tuesday's show. Any allegations of improper behaviour are categorically untrue."