The firing of a Canadian news anchor, reportedly because of gray hair, sparks controversy

The firing of Canadian news anchor Lisa LaFlamme from CTV News has sparked controversy online and prompted companies to make statements about aging.

LaFlamme, who was the network’s chief news anchor and managing editor, was fired after 35 years at CTV, according to an Aug. 15 report publication. Before becoming a presenter, the 58-year-old was a national affairs correspondent.

“With her relentless commitment to serving as part of Canada’s premier news team, delivering the stories Canadians care about most, Lisa has deftly guided viewers through turbulent times and celebrations, and we wish her all the best as she begins a new chapter.” Karine Moses, senior vice president of content development at News for Bell Media, said in a statement.

in one Video posted on Twitter On Aug. 15, LaFlamme announced her departure, saying she was “taken by surprise” and “still shocked and saddened” by the decision.

“On June 29, I was informed that Bell Media had made a ‘business decision’ to terminate my contract, suddenly ending my career with CTV News… I was also asked to state this in front of my colleagues and the public until then confidential The details of my exit could be clarified,” she said.

“At 58 I still thought I had a lot more time to tell more of the stories that influence our daily lives. Instead, I leave CTV with humility at the people who put their trust in me to tell their story,” LaFlamme continued.

Bell Media didn’t explicitly explain why it parted ways with LaFlamme, although the company did list “changing viewer habits” in the press release as part of its “business decision to move its acclaimed news show, CTV NATIONAL NEWS, and the role of its chief news anchor to one.” other direction.”

However, controversy arose afterwards The Globe and the Mail reported CTV News executive Michael Melling, who asked questions about LaFlamme’s hair.

At a meeting, Melling reportedly asked who agreed to the decision to “turn Lisa’s hair gray,” the publication reported of a senior CTV official who was in the room. According to The Globe and Mail, LaFlamme’s hair color was an issue on set another day, when Melling said the studio lighting had “taken on a purple hue.”

On CTV’s year in review special, the publication noted that the journalist explained that she can’t see her hair dye because of the pandemic and is spraying her roots before going on the air.

“I finally said, ‘Why bother? I’m going gray.” Honestly, if I had known Lockdown could be so liberating on that front I would have done it much sooner,” she said.

CTV declined to comment further on LaFlamme’s departure, instead hinting at one on TODAY August 26 LinkedIn post by Mirko Bibic, President and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada.

“There has been a lot of criticism since Bell Media’s decision to terminate (LaFlamme’s) contract. The narrative was that Lisa’s age, gender or gray hair played a role in the decision,” he wrote. “I’m satisfied that’s not the case and wanted to make sure you hear it from me. While I want to say more about Bell Media’s decision, we are bound by a mutual separation agreement negotiated with Lisa, which we will continue to honor.”

Bibic said the company was also conducting an independent review to “resolve concerns about the editorial work environment.”

“Any necessary changes that emerge will be implemented quickly to ensure a respectful, unified workplace,” he said. Bibic added that Melling has been “furloughed with immediate effect pending the outcome of the ongoing workplace review”.

Melling declined to comment on the Globe and Mail story.

LaFlamme’s departure led to support from companies like Wendy’s and Dove, both of which temporarily changed their logos with gray elements and raised awareness of aging among women.

Wendy wrote on Twitter that a star is a star “regardless of hair color,” accompanied by the hashtag #LisaLaFlamme. The fast food chain shared a photo of the iconic redhead girl with gray braids.

Dove Canada posted on Twitter that the company is donating $100,000 to Catalyst, which will help “create inclusive workplaces for all women.”

“Age is beautiful. Women should be able to do it on their own terms, with no repercussions,” Dove wrote, complete with two emojis of gray haired women.

“Go gray with us, turn your profile picture grayscale,” Dove challenged, urging people to share their photos with a shade of gray. The video ended with the classic Dove logo fading into a gray color.

CTV responded to the backlash, sharing a story about Wendy’s, Dove, and Twitter users reacting to the firing, which was captioned, “Following LaFlamme’s exit, brands should be cautious about jumping onto hot topics: experts.”

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