A leaked email from ITV bosses has revealed The Jeremy Kyle Show has been suspended to "protect its future" in the wake of the suspected suicide of a guest who failed a lie detector test while filming an episode.
The message from chief executive Carolyn McCall told employees the suspension was "not in any way a reflection of the show" but a way to guard against the "reaction we expect to this death".
Steve Dymond, 62, was found dead after being "humiliated and traumatised" on The Jeremy Kyle Show, which he had gone on with his on-and-off girlfriend.
The programme, which was due to air this week, was pulled from the TV schedules after the digger driver was found dead in his bedroom on Thursday last week.
In a dramatic move, ITV halted the scheduled broadcast, suspended filming of the show and removed all past episodes from its catch-up website.
The email has caused outrage online, with some on social media accusing ITV of "taking the moral low ground".
Writing in the email, seen by Buzzfeed, McCall said: "Some of you may have seen coverage today of the very sad news of the death of one of the participants on The Jeremy Kyle Show.
"We have all been shocked and saddened at this news and have taken the decision to suspend both filming and broadcasting of the show.
"This was a very difficult decision to make but we felt that it would be inappropriate to continue to broadcast the show when a participant on it has so recently died
"This decision is not in any way a reflection on the show, but the best way we can protect the show and the production team from the reaction we expect to this death."
She added that everyone involved in the show was "shocked and saddened" by Dymond's death and that the episode would undergo a review that would be completed "as soon as we can".
McCall added counsellors and support teams would be available to anyone who needed them.
Dymond is said to have been left devastated and suicidal after being confronted in the TV studio at MediaCity in Salford about allegations of infidelity.
He apparently called friends in tears after filming the show, which had been due to air yesterday.
British MPs have called for the show to be axed for good in the wake of Dymond's death with a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May saying "this is a deeply concerning case".
"Broadcasters and production companies have a responsibility for the mental health and wellbeing of participants and viewers of their programmes.
"We are clear they must have appropriate levels of support in place."
Conservative MP Charles Walker, a member of the all-party parliamentary group on suicide and self-harm prevention, told the BBC that guests on the Jeremy Kyle show are "not really guests, they're victims" and described it as "a watershed moment".
He said it would be "extremely sensible" if ITV said "this has gone far enough".
Regarding the death, an ITV spokesman said: "Everyone at ITV and The Jeremy Kyle Show is shocked and saddened at the news of the death of a participant in the show a week after the recording of the episode they featured in and our thoughts are with their family and friends.
"ITV will not screen the episode in which they featured.
"Given the seriousness of this event, ITV has also decided to suspend both filming and broadcasting of The Jeremy Kyle Show with immediate effect in order to give it time to conduct a review of this episode of the show."
TVNZ has said it will continue to air the Jeremy Kyle Show in New Zealand. A TVNZ spokesperson says it's speaking to ITV about the upsetting incident, and won't screen the episode in question, but it plans to continuing broadcasting episodes that have already been approved for broadcast.
WHERE TO GET HELP:
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