Elton John has expressed his criticism of the response to Phillip Schofield’s affair revelation on This Morning, describing it as “totally homophobic.”
Last month, the 61-year-old presenter Schofield admitted to an affair with a much younger male employee from the show, emphasising that it was an “unwise but not illegal affair.”
The revelation triggered extensive media coverage, with Schofield granting interviews to the BBC and The Sun. During these interviews, he acknowledged his grave error but refuted claims of grooming the individual involved, stating they had met when the person was 15 years old.
Schofield suggested that the intense media scrutiny and public reaction to the affair may have been amplified due to its homosexual nature, pointing out that attraction is the same across the heterosexual, gay, and lesbian worlds. He drew a parallel to Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who has been involved in relationships with women in their early twenties, highlighting the double standards and homophobia at play.
Elton John has now entered the controversy, addressing rising anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments in the United States, where Republican politicians have introduced numerous bills targeting the rights of transgender individuals. In an interview with Radio Times, the renowned musician expressed concern about the backward progress and growing homophobia faced by the LGBTQ+ community. He specifically commented on the Phillip Schofield situation, characterising it as entirely homophobic.
Elton John, set to headline Glastonbury on June 25, further remarked that if the affair involved a straight man and a young woman, it would likely not have received significant media attention.
His comments echo those of other LGBTQ+ public figures, including actor Rupert Everett, who denounced the reaction to the affair as “insanity” and criticised the puritanical approach taken.
LGBTQ+ rights activist Peter Tatchell also highlighted the perceived homophobia in the criticism directed at Schofield, emphasising the explicit anti-gay prejudice prevalent on social media and implicit bias within the national media.