Advocates for recently-terminated CTV News anchor Lisa LaFlamme will not go quietly into that good night, much to the chagrin (I’m sure) of Bell Media executives who now-famously decided to dismiss her, after 35 years of service, for reasons that are still unclear.
The award-winning Canadian journalist hasn’t publicly commented on the fallout from her departure; LaFlamme’s last public social media dispatch on Aug. 15, in which she announced that she had been “shocked and saddened” to learn of her termination, merely sparked a flame that has now turned into a global blaze.
Between coverage from major U.S. news outlets including CNN and The New York Times, backlash from Canadian celebrities, and the visibility created by campaigns from brands such as Wendy’s, Dove and Sports Illustrated, LaFlamme’s story is only growing more and more powerful as the weeks go on.
Enter Katie Couric, one of the most-respected journalists in America, whose career and reputation can be likened in many ways to LaFlamme’s.
“Hey all… have you read about @lisalaflammectv who was unceremoniously dumped by @CTV because… well… perhaps because she let her hair go gray or she was making too much $$$ or the guys in charge are idiots,” wrote Couric in an Instagram post Wednesday, sharing a photo of LaFlamme holding a recent Canadian Screen Award.
“Yes, because of changing advertising models, mainstream media profits are declining significantly. But the way this was handled was really boneheaded,” continued the former TODAY show host.
“As reported in the @nytimes ‘Many journalists and viewers noted that two male longtime anchors before Ms. LaFlamme, one at CTV and one at another major broadcaster were allowed to retire at 69 and 77 and both were able to offer their farewells on air.'”
Couric reposted LaFlamme’s self-filmed and self-distributed goodbye message to her IG Stories in a display of solidarity, raising further awareness of the fiasco and inspiring even more outrage.
LaFlamme makes clear in the clip that, at 58 years of age, she had thought she’d still be working for some time and that she hadn’t left CTV by choice.
Her departure video and Bell’s handling of the whole situation has sparked accusations of sexism, ageism and corporate bullying within CTV, where at least one top executive (VP of News, Michael Melling, now on leave) questioned who had “approved the decision to let Lisa’s hair go grey.'”
“Needless to say, this has created a major PR disaster for the folks in charge at @CTV,” noted Couric in her Instagram post.
“We need to see women aging in every arena. Basically, this sucks.”
It would appear as though pretty much everyone in Canada (and, increasingly, abroad) would agree.