Phillip Schofield says he's always defended women in This Morning debate about female safety

Phillip Schofield
(Image credit: Getty)

Phillip Schofield and Nicola Thorp sparked a debate as they discussed women's safety as part of a segment on This Morning following the murder of Sarah Everard.

As people are being urged to familiarise themselves with a secret iPhone feature that can alert help (opens in new tab) if you’re in trouble and could potentially save your life, the former Coronation Street star praised the men who reached out to her on Twitter to admit they themselves, were 'part of the problem' as they asked for advice on how to make women feel safer.

The discussion comes after a study by UN Women released just last week suggested that 97% of women between the ages of 18-24 have experienced some form of sexual harassment in their lifetimes.

Phillip Schofield, Holly Willoughby, Nicola Thorp

Nicola said, "Not all men are abusers. But all men I think at some point in their life have passed up an opportunity to call out abuse."

To which Phillip, who is tipped to replace Bradley Walsh (opens in new tab) on The Chase, responded, "Well I haven’t. Not to my knowledge." And Nicola replied, "Well there we go, you’re one of the not-all men then."

Phillip Schofield

But when Phillip went on to claim that he didn't think there were "a great many men who have" passed up an opportunity to call out abuse, and declared, "I’m hearing in the gallery a number of men who work on the show saying 'no, that hasn’t happened to me.'"

His response prompted Nicola to hit back in disbelief and she explained, "Well I find that very difficult to believe because I as a woman have been in a situation where I’ve seen someone being harassed, or lads talking about women in a certain way, and I haven’t felt like I haven’t been able to step in. It doesn’t mean that you’re at fault but it means you missed out on an opportunity to be a part of the solution."

And viewers are divided on the debate. One viewer tweeted, 'All the men currently ripping into Nicola on here because they don’t agree with her is literally proving her point.. #thismorning.'

Another put, 'I’m with Phil there. I understand that men are the problem, but you can’t say ALL men have either abused someone OR stood back and allowed it to happen!'

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Meanwhile, a YouGov survey found that only four per cent of women report incidents of sexual harassment, with others believing it would ‘not change anything’ or that they wouldn’t be believed.

Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 14 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She currently looks after all things Entertainment for Goodto.com, Woman&Home, and My Imperfect Life. Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.