After 35 years at the network, CTV News anchor Lisa LaFlamme was suddenly and somewhat mysteriously fired. The 58-year-old reporter—who had been a fixture in Canadian living rooms for years—said she was blindsided and thought she had many more years of work with the network ahead of her.
“On June 29th, I was informed that Bell Media made a ‘business decision’ to end my contract, bringing to a sudden close my long career with CTV News,” she said in a video posted to Twitter.
“I was blindsided and I’m still shocked and saddened by Bell Media’s decision. At 58, I still thought I’d have a lot more time to tell more of the stories that impact our daily lives. Instead, I leave CTV humbled by the people who put their faith in me to tell their story.”
So, why did CTV abruptly decide to part ways with one of the country’s most prominent journalists? Well, the speculation among major news outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post is that the termination was the result of LaFlamme deciding to let her hair go gray.
LaFlamme decided in 2020 to stop dying her hair and let it naturally go gray, and she received vocal support from women all across Canada. But behind the scenes, CTV news head Michael Melling was voicing his concerns.
According to Canada’s The Globe and Mail, an anonymous senior executive says he was in a meeting where Melling questioned who approved the decision to “let Lisa’s hair go gray.” On set, Melling had issues with LaFlamme’s silver locks taking on a purple hue in the studio lighting.
It was Melling who ultimately told LaFlamme that she was fired, despite having two years left on her contract. Not to mention the fact she’s led Canada’s most-watched nightly newscast since 2011.
According to The Globe, LaFlamme and Melling apparently had disagreements on other topics, which also may have contributed to her termination. They reportedly clashed over stories, network priorities and resources, and coverage of events like the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the war in Ukraine.
At this point, the cause for her firing has not been confirmed. But even if her hair color wasn’t the reason LaFlamme lost her job, the firing has still led women across the country to share stories of sexism and ageism in the workplace.
Even businesses joined in the conversation. Wendy’s Canada changed its iconic logo’s hair from red to gray, while Dove Canada donated $100,000 to Catalyst, an organization dedicated to workplace inclusivity for women.
We’re inspired by the outpouring of support around LaFlamme and hope these continued conversations lead to meaningful changes in the workplace for all women.