Bell Media launching internal review after outrage over Lisa LaFlamme's exit from CTV
Bell Media is spinning its wheels in an attempt to repair its public standing after the high-profile exit of CTV National News anchor Lisa LaFlamme and ensuing backlash this week.
The respected anchor's 35-year career — including nine years anchoring CTV National News — was unexpectedly cut short on Aug. 15, a decision that appears to have had a ripple effect through the ranks of the media empire.
LaFlamme explained in a now-viral video that she had been "blindsided" by the decision, and the discourse has since turned to third-party allegations of ageism and sexism, with insiders speaking out about toxic conditions at Bell Media.
Even international news outlets have picked up the story, taking particular interest in the prevalent theories that LaFlamme was fired over her decision to let her grey hair grow out during the lockdown days.
I have some news... pic.twitter.com/lTe3Rs0kOA— Lisa LaFlamme (@LisaLaFlamme_) August 15, 2022
In a letter signed by Bell Media President Wade Oosterman and Karine Moses, Senior Vice President of Content Development & News, the media giant admits that it has "been dealing with a difficult and high profile change in recent days."
Uh, yeah. You think?
The statement goes on to say that "In a news organization. making a change at the anchor desk is always a difficult decision."
The network representatives say that Bell and CTV "knew that many viewers and members of the CTV family would be disappointed that Lisa LaFlamme would be leaving her position as Chief News Anchor and Senior Editor," but it is becoming apparent that none of these executives predicted the media firestorm that followed LaFlamme's forced exit.
A statement from Bell Media. pic.twitter.com/4I1LapDYpj— Bell Media PR (@BellMediaPR) August 19, 2022
Bell and CTV have faced backlash from disappointed customers and former employees claiming to have experienced similar human resources-related issues in the workplace.
In their statement, Bell execs say that despite her sudden canning, LaFlamme "made an important contribution to Canadian television news over the past 35 years."
"CTV regrets that the way in which the news of her departure has been communicated may have left viewers with the wrong impression about how CTV regards Lisa and her remarkable career."
Hey women over 50- time to boycott CTV— Alka Burman (@ELSPeel) August 18, 2022
In a clear attempt to dissuade rumours of ageism and sexism, Bell claims to "have always taken matters regarding any discrimination very seriously and are committed to a safe, inclusive and respectful work environment for all our employees, devoid of any toxic behaviour."
Downplaying the obvious external pressure, the statement claims that "consistent with our policies," the company is "taking steps to initiate an independent third-party internal workplace review of our newsroom, which will take place over the following weeks."
Dark clouds hovering over two senior Toronto-based media execs -- Corus CEO Doug Murphy, to whom female employees say they long complained about John Derringer's abusive behaviour, and now CTV News VP Michael Melling who orchestrated Lisa LaFlamme's ouster.— David Rider (@dmrider) August 18, 2022
Those steps may not be enough for the many seeking LaFlamme's reinstatement as CTV National News anchor, with a change.org petition calling for her return garnering over 82,000 signatures as of writing.
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