It’s Completely Sexist That Holly Willoughby Is Bearing The Brunt Of The Queuegate Backlash

The pair were booed on stage at the NTAs last night - but as the saga escalates into misogyny and trolling, is it time to forgive?

Holly and Phil

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield were reportedly booed on stage at the National Television Awards last night while picking up their award for Best Daytime Show. The pair are still facing backlash for allegedly skipping the 12-hour queue to view Queen Elizabeth II lying-in-state at Westminster Hall last month - something they deny.

‘Please don’t think we ever get complacent, and please don’t think we ever take this for granted,’ Phil said during their acceptance speech, over the chorus of booing. ‘This means so much to us every year, especially this year.’

Naturally, it’s become a big story for the tabloids this morning – except there’s a point of difference in the way some are reporting, namely a decision to focus on Holly as if she bore the brunt of the booing.

‘Tearful Holly Willoughby is booed at the National Television Awards before sneaking out of show early after backlash over “queue-gate”’ one headline read. ‘Holly Willoughby “sneaks out” of NTAs early after mixed reaction to National Television Awards win,’ another went with. Now 'Holly Willoughby booed' is a breakout search term on Google, with Phil's name nowhere to be found in association with the booing.

While Phil did stay at the NTA’s longer than Holly, it’s largely known that the pair both head out early to go to their own afterparties – it happens every year and is usually well-received by fans when they appear on This Morning the next day hilariously hungover. In fact, that’s often been a highlight of This Morning viewing. But even if Holly decided not to be seen partying this year, why such a focus her reaction over Phillip’s? Well, you don’t have to think too hard to come to an obvious conclusion.

This reaction is giving license to tabloids who will jump on any excuse to tear down a woman.

Over on social media, the reaction has been much more unanimous that both are in the firing line for ‘queue-gate’. Quite literally, a petition to sack to pair from This Morning has been signed by more than 77,000 people. But others are more forgiving, pointing to their explanation.

‘Like hundreds of accredited broadcasters and journalists we were given official permission to access the hall,’ Holly said during an episode of This Morning on 20th September. ‘It was strictly for the purpose of reporting on the event for millions of people in the UK who have not been able to visit Westminster in person.

‘The rules were that we would be quickly escorted around the edges to a platform at the back. In contrast, those paying respects walked along a carpeted area beside the coffin and were given time to pause. None of the broadcasters and journalists there took anyone’s place in the queue and no one filed past the Queen.

‘We of course respected those rules. However, we realise that it may have looked like something else, and therefore totally understand the reaction. Please know that we would never jump a queue.’

Media accreditation is often given to journalists to provide easier access to global events for the purpose of reporting. It is typically supplied by those in charge of the event and in this case was provided to journalists by the UK Parliament media team.

But surely whatever your view, one must ask whether it’s time to move on from this whole saga. It’s not just Holly and Phil that were on-stage as they were booed, the entire This Morning team were there too, subjected to the uncomfortable moment for no reason at all (including Alison Hammond, who is the last person in the world who deserves to hear booing).

Beyond that, this reaction is now giving license to tabloids who will jump on any excuse to tear down a woman, evidenced by the fact Holly is now on the receiving end of the one-sided headlines. You only have to look to her demeanour during episodes of This Morning since the scandal broke to see the impact on Holly specifically, with viewers noting that she was 'quiet' and 'looks like she’s been crying all night.'

You can believe or acknowledge that someone has done something disrespectful and demand an apology without wishing the end of their career, booing them, or trolling them online. Seeing how this scandal is escalating into a place of extreme nastiness – towards one more than the other, we might add – perhaps it’s time to take the fuel out of this fire.

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