Hide those gray hairs | The Press

Lisa LaFlamme hosts Canada’s most-watched national newscast. CTV National News drew more than a million viewers on average at 11 p.m., more than double the National from CBC. In April, for the second year in a row, the 58-year-old journalist won the Canadian Screen award for the country’s best female anchor.

Posted on August 18th

And yet, two months later, Lisa LaFlamme was let go by CTV, without further ado, after 35 years of service, including more than a decade as its newsroom headliner. While there are almost two years left on his contract.

Lloyd Robertson, Lisa LaFlamme’s predecessor, anchored CTV until age 77. Peter Mansbridge, CBC’s star anchor, read the news until age 69. Two weights, two measures? It looks like yes.

“It was not my choice,” said the journalist, who is still in shock – he has been kept incommunicado since June – in a two-minute video, posted on Twitter earlier this week. It was a “business decision” based on “changing viewer habits,” Bell Media, CTV’s owner, said in a statement.

Twenty minutes later, Bell announced that its new anchor was Omar Sachedina, a graduate of McGill University, 20 years younger than Lisa LaFlamme. How do you say “not chic” in English? Not for one or for the other, for the rest.

Various media investigations in English Canada revealed this week that interference with journalistic content as well as a conflict of personalities were mainly the source of Lisa LaFlamme’s dismissal. Michael Melling, the new vice-president of CTV News, appointed in January, does not seem to accept that women stand up to him, according to several CTV employees who asked not to be identified.

Lisa LaFlamme reportedly wants more money to be invested in covering the war in Ukraine, to ensure the safety of journalists. He would also insist that a producer and partner, who is about to lose his job, stay by his side.

The “business decision” of Bell Media, according to many observers, seems above all to be an easy​​​​ excuse to get rid of an influential employee who challenged the authority of a new executive. To hire a less experienced journalist in his place at a lower salary.

What is apparent in this controversial decision above all else is the shameless and unbridled ageism and sexism that underlies it. Investigative reporter Robyn Doolittle in the Globe and Mail It was revealed Thursday that Michael Melling, upon taking office, asked Lisa LaFlamme to stop dyeing her hair during the pandemic. In person. In a meeting of executives. Five months later, he announced his removal of his antenna head.

It seems unthinkable in 2022, with a caricatured sexism, almost burlesque, worthy of a sketch of Children in the Hall, but it is true. That wasn’t the only comment he made about his anchorwoman’s natural hair color, according to Globe and Mail. Needless to say, you can’t make such a comment about a man. I’ve been on TV and had (growing) gray hair for 15 years, and I can vouch for that.

A couple of conservative columnists tried to sweep accusations of sexism under the rug, suggesting that Lisa LaFlamme was possibly a cultural victim. open-eyed (we know the catchphrase), almost all reporters and columnists in English Canada described him this week as a compelling journalist, respected and appreciated by his colleagues.

If Bell Media has something concrete and damaging to embarrass him, we already know about it, albeit indirectly. A leak came quickly when it came to getting rid of a company involved in a public relations fiasco…

Nothing currently allows us to draw parallels between the dismissal of Lisa LaFlamme and the suspension of Radio-Canada of Pascale Nadeau. Many former colleagues of Pascale Nadeau – who is now suing Radio-Canada – criticized what they described as a bad climate that reigned on the set of Newscast which he hosted. Nothing of the sort has been alleged against CTV’s Lisa LaFlamme or emerged from all the reports attributed to her controversial firing.

People will say I’m naive, but I dare to hope that today in Quebec, such a dismissal would be more difficult to imagine. Our broadcasters, we hope, have learned from their mistakes.

In 1984, at the age of 40, Radio-Canada journalist Louise Arcand was told by her employers that they also wanted to “change” the newscast she hosted. He was replaced by a 28-year-old colleague. The Superior Court of Quebec and the Canadian Human Rights Commission recognized that he had been a victim of discrimination. He died of cancer in 1992.

Some journalists seem to have suffered some form of discrimination afterwards. We are thinking of Francine Bastien, Suzanne Laberge, Madeleine Poulin or Michèle Viroly. The fact remains that today, many experienced journalists host news bulletins or information programs. No, unless I’m mistaken, though, with gray hair…

The belief that a newscast on traditional television is likely to be more popular because it is hosted by a 38-year-old man than a 58-year-old woman strikes me as not only ageist and sexist, but also magical. thinking.

This “business decision” as despicable as it is bad is likely to turn against Bell Media. The most disturbing thing is not to see a company of this size acting so cavalierly, with little regard for experience and quality journalism. Anyone who remembers the movie Broadcast the News or follows the series The Morning Show not surprised.

The most worrying thing is to see that in 2022, it is very easy to lose a woman on the pretext that she is not obedient, that she has a face or hair that also shows her real age, just because she is a you are a woman.

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