Lisa LaFlamme ‘going gray’ questioned by CTV govt, says senior firm official

Former CTV information anchor Lisa LaFlamme.Fb

Shortly after Michael Melling grew to become head of CTV Information, he raised questions on host Lisa LaFlamme’s hair.

In accordance with a senior CTV official who was current on the assembly, Mr. Melling requested who had accepted the choice to “let Lisa’s hair go gray.” The difficulty of Ms. LaFlamme’s hair color got here up once more on set at some point, when he famous that it was taking over a purple hue within the studio lighting.

Later, Mr. Melling can be the one to inform Ms. LaFlamme that she was being ousted from her function as anchor of CTV Nationwide Information, one of many nation’s most-watched newscasts – an sudden removing that she introduced earlier this week. Ms. LaFlamme had been within the job since 2011 and with the community for 35 years, and nonetheless had just below two years left on her contract. In 2020, she made headlines and received reward from ladies throughout the nation when she determined to cease dyeing her hair and let her pure silver locks develop out.

She defined the choice within the community’s year-in-review particular, saying that due to the pandemic she couldn’t go to her hair colourist and was having to spray her roots daily earlier than happening air. “I lastly mentioned, ‘why trouble? I’m going gray.’ Truthfully, if I had identified the lockdown may very well be so liberating on that entrance I might have accomplished it rather a lot sooner.”

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Ms. LaFlamme’s sudden ouster has prompted anger, confusion and hypothesis inside CTV. The Globe spoke with three present employees members on the firm. Two mentioned that they had noticed tensions between Mr. Melling and Ms. LaFlamme, in addition to between him and the present’s govt producer, Rosa Hwang. The Globe shouldn’t be naming the employees members as a result of they weren’t approved to talk.

Mr. Melling and Ms. LaFlamme clashed over tales, community priorities and sources – most visibly when it got here to protection of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the warfare in Ukraine.

Mr. Melling and CTV declined to remark. Ms. LaFlamme directed The Globe to a video assertion she posted on Twitter earlier this week.

In that two-minute clip, Ms. LaFlamme mentioned that, on June 29, she was advised that Bell Media, CTV’s father or mother firm, had made a “enterprise determination” to terminate her contract. She added that she was requested to maintain this data confidential till the small print of her exit have been labored out.

“I used to be blindsided and I’m nonetheless shocked and saddened by Bell Media’s determination,” she mentioned. “At 58, I nonetheless thought I’d have much more time to inform extra of the tales that affect our each day lives. As an alternative, I depart CTV humbled by the individuals who put their religion in me to inform their story.”

One of many newscast’s employees members recalled an argument that passed off across the time of the beginning of the warfare in Ukraine. The community was sending a crew to the nation to cowl the Russian invasion. Ms. LaFlamme advocated for CTV to guide lodge rooms in Krakow, Poland, in case the crew members wanted to retreat shortly from Ukraine. Mr. Melling raised considerations about the fee. After a protracted argument, the rooms have been booked.

Later, when it got here time to rearrange protection of Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee celebration in June, there was once more a struggle about cash.

One employees member recalled Mr. Melling saying sending a crew to Britain wasn’t definitely worth the expense. “Michael mentioned, ‘We’re not going. Cancel. It’s not value it. Let’s cowl it from Toronto,’” the employees member recalled.

“We now have to cowl the Queen! She’s Canada’s Queen too,” the employees member remembered Ms. LaFlamme saying. “The plan had already been set in regards to the protection and conversations already passed off with our broadcast companions within the U.Ok.”

After extra arguments, a scaled-down staff was allowed to make the journey, however they needed to forfeit a dear taking pictures location close to Buckingham Palace. As an alternative, they coated the jubilee from a lodge balcony in Trafalgar Sq., which was considerably cheaper, however farther from the occasion.

In a video launched by way of Twitter on Monday, CTV Nationwide Information anchor Lisa LaFlamme mentioned Bell Media knowledgeable her on June 29 of the “enterprise determination” to finish her contract. LaFlamme had labored for the community for 35 years.

The Globe and Mail

Disputes over sources and information priorities will not be unusual in newsrooms, the employees member mentioned, however what was uncommon on this case was the tone of the discussions.

Mr. Melling didn’t reply effectively to pushback from Ms. LaFlamme and Ms. Hwang, the supply mentioned.

Below Mr. Melling’s predecessor, Wendy Freeman, there have been frequent debates about protection, the supply mentioned, and there was all the time mutual respect as a result of Ms. Freeman was seen as a journalist. However Mr. Melling is seen as a Bell govt extra involved with the enterprise facet of CTV.

“Historically, that function [head of CTV news] is meant to be the highest journalist within the newsroom,” the employees member mentioned.

One other employees member mentioned Mr. Melling isn’t seen strolling across the newsroom.

Mr. Melling joined Bell Media in 2003 as an editorial assistant at BNN Bloomberg. In accordance with his LinkedIn profile, he spent 5 years as a reporter, earlier than changing into a information director in Southwestern Ontario in 2010. From there, he shortly ascended by the administration ranks, with 5 extra promotions in a decade. Previous to taking on from Ms. Freeman, who had held the highest function for 12 years, Mr. Melling was the final supervisor of CTV Information Toronto, CP24 and BNN Bloomberg. He additionally holds an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier College, in line with his LinkedIn.

Workers members mentioned Ms. LaFlamme and Ms. Hwang have been powerful and at instances very demanding, however that they have been additionally revered, skilled and made certain everybody had an opportunity to voice their opinion.

CTV workers and members of the general public have raised questions on whether or not ageism and sexism might have performed roles in Ms. LaFlamme’s exit. In interviews, employees members complained about the truth that, to this point, CTV has not addressed her departure.

The Globe obtained a portion of a draft memo that’s slated to be despatched to the newsroom on Thursday. Within the notice, an unidentified community govt addresses a sore level for a lot of: that Ms. LaFlamme was not given an on-air send-off and celebration, like her predecessor, Lloyd Robertson.

The memo says Ms. LaFlamme was given a possibility to “come again into the studio and have her profession at CTV be appropriately celebrated.” It provides that after Ms. LaFlamme was knowledgeable of the choice to finish her contract, she was allowed to proceed to work and did cowl the current papal go to.

“She opted to not say goodbye to the general public throughout a CTV Nationwide newscast,” the memo says. “Whereas I want issues had been completely different, I additionally respect her determination.”

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