Lisa LaFlamme is a familiar presence in Canadian homes as the chief anchor of Canada's most watched nightly News program.
LaFlamme worked for CTV for 35 years, so viewers were surprised when the network announced they were replacing her with a male anchor 20 years her junior. The decision, made by Bell Media, CTV's parent company, surprised LaFlamme, too.
“On June 29, 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. I was blindsided, and I'm still shocked and saddened by Bell Media's decision,” she said in a video posted on her social media last week.
Tons of speculation in the press followed about what went on behind the scenes. Was it a budgetary decision? Was it a personality clash with new management? Or maybe it had something to do with the color of LaFlamme’s hair.
“When 2020 started, I was a brunette,” she said on the network’s “2020 Year-in-Review special.”
But when her salon closed during the COVID-19 lockdown, she decided to stop dyeing her hair.
“I finally said ‘why bother? I’m going gray!' Honestly if I had known the lockdown could be so liberating on that front, I would have done it a lot sooner.”
Former colleagues told Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper that management was not too happy with the decision. CTV denied it, but that hasn't put the matter to rest.
Hashtags with the words ``ageism” and “misogyny” have been trending on Canadian social media since the announcement. Even Wendy's Canada swapped out its mascot's red hair for gray on Twitter:
Dove Soap got in on it too. It launched a social media campaign called "Keep the Grey" and encouraged everyone to turn their profile pictures grayscale in solidarity.
Clearly, this is a marketing campaign. The point is to sell soap.
Still, it taps into feeling for many that ageism and sexism are still alive and well in the workplace.
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