TV Host Claims He Was Fired From Job After Getting Terminal Cancer Diagnosis

British reporter Jonnie Irwin claims he was fired from his hosting gig on Channel 4's A Place in the Sun after receiving his terminal cancer diagnosis. According to Irwin, he had late-stage cancer of the lung that spread to his brain. He initially learned of his illness in 2020 while filming the property travel show. While speaking with The Sun, Irwin alleged Channel 4 and A Place in the Sun producer Freeform Productions cut his presenter role the minute he told them about it. He claims he was paid off mid-season and his contract was then not renewed. "That hurt. That broke my heart," he said, Deadline reports. "I feel hugely let down. I can't even watch the show now."

Despite his terminal diagnosis, he hasn't stopped working. He has presented episodes of Escape to the Country, as well as contributed to projects. Irwin says Freeform's response forced him to hide his diagnosis from others for fear of being let go. He chose to keep his illness a secret as a means to ensure his family was taken care of financially if he dies.  

"Even though I look thinner and I'm without hair, Escape to the Country and A Place In The Sun Ltd, which runs the show's exhibitions, have employed me and I've been so impressed by them," he said. "But I didn't get that support from A Place in the Sun. I told them I wanted to work. When I said, 'I can get you doctor notes and assurances from my oncologist that I am fit to work,' I was told, verbatim, 'Oh, you really don't want to go down that route, do you?'"

Channel 4 and Freeform has responded in a statement on their own, alleging the firing wasn't due to his illness in general, but more of an insurance precaution. "Jonnie has been a hugely important part of the A Place in the Sun family for over 18 years and all of us were deeply saddened by his diagnosis. Much loved by everyone on the production, no stone was left unturned in trying to enable Jonnie to continue his international filming with us during Covid but the production company were unable to secure adequate insurance cover for him," they said. 

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They continued: "Whilst we were unable to continue to film abroad with him, we're delighted that he was able to remain as part of our team in the UK for exhibitions. We, of course, understand how frustrating this must be for him at this incredibly difficult time."