Anger as Lisa LaFlamme dropped as Canada TV anchor after going gray


Allegations {that a} common tv information anchor in Canada misplaced her job after “going gray” have prompted anger and disbelief, casting one of many nation’s largest media organisations into turmoil and highlighting the inflexible expectations going through girls within the workforce.

In a two-minute video posted on Twitter on Monday, Lisa LaFlamme introduced she had been ousted as anchor of CTV Nationwide Information, one of many nation’s most-watched night exhibits.

Within the clip, which has since been seen greater than 4m occasions, LaFlamme stated she was “blindsided” by the choice to finish her contract.

“I’m nonetheless shocked and saddened,” she stated. “At 58, I nonetheless thought I’d have much more time to inform extra of the tales that affect our every day lives.”

LaFlamme, who began internet hosting the flagship present in 2011, was considered one of many ladies who stopped dyeing her hair through the pandemic, and allowed her pure hair color to point out. LaFlamme known as the choice “liberating” and instructed viewers she wished she had made the transfer sooner.

However on Thursday, the Globe and Mail reported that Michael Melling, a senior government at CTV Information, had “requested who had accredited the choice to ‘let Lisa’s hair go gray’”. Melling and LaFlamme additionally clashed over journalistic points earlier than Melling ultimately instructed LaFlamme that her contract was being ended, the Globe and Mail reported.

LaFlamme has labored for CTV Information for the final 35 years, reporting from battle zones and the websites of devastating pure disasters. She not too long ago gained Greatest Information Anchor on the Canadian Display screen Awards.

Shock at her departure unfold rapidly all through Canadian journalism, with political and enterprise leaders additionally weighing in.

The previous Alberta premier Rachel Notley known as LaFlamme “an enormous voice in Canadian media” and former setting minister Catherine McKenna known as the remedy of the veteran journalist “appallingly shoddy”.

Others alluded to perceptions of sexism and ageism. Arlene Dickinson, a distinguished investor, praised LaFlamme for ageing “gracefully” on nationwide TV and galvanizing others.

“Then the oldsters at CTV introduced their feminine ageism to work,” Dickinson stated.

In a press release, CTV’s dad or mum firm, Bell Media, stated LaFlamme’s removing as anchor was a response to “altering viewer habits”.

It didn’t reply to a request for touch upon the allegations that LaFlamme’s hair color performed a task in her removing.

However at a tense firm city corridor assembly on Thursday, executives denied LaFlamme’s termination was motivated by her age or gender.

“I’m a girl. I’m a girl. I’ve been right here for 25 years. Do you actually assume that I might fireplace a girl as a result of she’s a girl?” stated senior vice-president Karine Moses after pointed questions from LaFlamme’s government producer, Rosa Hwang, over why she was dropped.

Lisa LaFlamme interviews the prime minister, Justin Trudeau, in 2019 {Photograph}: Stéphane Mahé/Reuters

On Friday, the corporate stated in a press release that it took allegations of discrimination “very critically” and was taking steps to provoke an unbiased, third-party inner office evaluation. The corporate additionally stated it “regrets” the way in which by which it dealt with LaFlamme’s exit from CTV because it “might have left viewers with the flawed impression” that her three-decades profession wasn’t valued by the corporate.

The furore over LaFlamme’s termination has highlighted the challenges girls – even these on the prime of their area – face every day, stated Amanda Watson, a sociologist at Simon Fraser college

“Like many people, I really feel shocked and never shocked,” Watson stated. “I’ve a suspicion that her shedding her job as a result of she went gray can’t presumably be what occurred. And on the similar time, I really feel in fact that’s what occurred … Each time I look within the mirror today I ask why I’m [colouring my hair]. I don’t should. I’m a professor!”

Watson stated the choice by the community had an undercurrent of misogyny and despatched a powerful sign about societal expectations to different girls.

“Many ladies gained’t get the chance to problem these frontlines of expectation inside themselves,” stated Watson. “It’s usually not an choice to cease sustaining one’s physique hair when the requirements of professionalization make or break somebody’s potential to place meals on the desk.”

Others identified an obvious double customary, which permits males to point out their age and preserve working. Distinguished Canadian information anchors like Peter Mansbridge and Lloyd Robertson – who LaFlamme changed when he retired at age 77 – loved far longer careers and obtained fastidiously produced send-offs.

“This isn’t simply that we don’t tolerate ageing in public in this sort of place – it’s that we that we apparently don’t wish to have a look at ageing girls. We nonetheless belief the authority and character and heat and familiarity and luxury of ageing males,” stated Watson. “All of it simply looks like the identical story line yet again. It’s a cliche and it’s irritating.”

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