Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral was an emotional event for many Britons. It allowed the nation to reflect on the passage of time to deal with the loss of a historic figure, and to unite in criticism of the ITV presenters Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby for supposed queue-jumping offences.
Managing Partner of the reputation management firm Igniyte, Simon Wadsworth, said, “I think the problem stemmed from them not making clear before they visit
ed the Queen lying in state that they were there ‘working’ and so it made very difficult after the event to justify what was perceived as a ‘queue jump’’.
A petition to have them axed from the ITV’s show, This Morning, has now reached more than 55,000 signatures, while their mockery continues across social media and tabloid headlines.
“Given that it was well known that some people had queued for lots of hours, and even oversight, it was somewhat insensitive but probably a genuine oversight,” Simon noted.
Three issues appear to have combined towards creating this mini scandal around a queue. First Schofield and Willoughby were led to a different area of the hall from other journalists. Second footage spread across Instagram and TikTok before the intended broadcast on This Morning and third, This Morning’s audience is particularly ill-disposed towards the pair regarding any potential breaches of royal etiquette – especially when fellow ITV presenter Susanna Reid chose to queue with the public.
So, what does crisis and reputation management experts like Simon advise?
“Their statement seemed to lack empathy,” and “I would have recommended a quick response along the lines of, ‘Whilst they were following guidelines, they appreciated how it could be perceived and apologise for the impact it had’ – show a bit of contrition to make the public warm to their situation.”
You can read the full article Can Schofield and Willoughby recover from Queen’s queue fallout on TheGuardian.com.