Ben Mulroney has announced that he is stepping down from his CTV entertainment show ‘etalk’ amid his wife Jessica Mulroney’s headline-grabbing race row with a former colleague.
On Canada’s Your Morning today, the 44-year-old TV host and son of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney said that he would be ‘immediately’ leaving the show he’d been on for 18 years.
‘It is my hope that that new anchor is Black, Indigenous or a person of color, and they can use this important platform to inspire, to lead and to make change,’ he said.
Out of a job: Ben Mulroney has announced that he is stepping down from his CTV entertainment show ‘etalk,’ effective immediately
Public drama: The announcement was made amid his wife Jessica Mulroney’s headline-grabbing race row with a former colleague
Ben’s leaving the show is the latest career change for the couple since Sasha Exeter accused Jessica, 40, of wielding her ‘white privilege’ and threatening to sue her following their private war of words over racism.
Jessica has already lost several jobs in the fallout, and now it seems Ben, too, is out of a job.
‘I want to take a moment to speak to you about the situation surrounding my wife Jessica, and the next steps I will be taking with Bell Media, he said in his announcement this morning.
‘I love my wife. However, it is not my place to speak for her. And today, together, we are committed to doing the work to both learn and understand more about anti-Black racism as well as learn and understand more about our blind spots. So, what does this mean for me?
‘Together, we are committed to doing the work to both learn and understand more about anti-Black racism as well as learn and understand more about our blind spots,’ he said
Still working; He added that he will still host red carpet events and other special projects, and will also still cohost the show Your Morning
New host: He said that he hopes is replacement is Black, Indigenous, or a person of color
Leaving: Ben, pictured with his wife and Meghan Markle in 2016, said he’s ‘so proud of everyone involved with etalk and CTV’
‘Well, it means acknowledging here today that my privilege has benefitted me greatly,’ he went on.
‘And while I have certainly worked hard to build my career, I know that systemic racism and injustice helps people like me and harms those who aren’t like me, often in ways that are invisible to us. This needs to change.
‘And that is why I have decided to immediately step away from my role as an anchor at etalk to create a space for a new perspective and a new voice,’ he said.
He went on to call for ‘more Black voices, more Indigenous voices, more people of color in the media as well as every other profession.’
‘I am so proud of everyone involved with etalk and CTV, and I know they will continue to demonstrate the excellence that has made that show and this network No. 1,’ he said.
He added that he will still host red carpet events and other special projects, and will also still cohost the show Your Morning.
Kiddos: The couple shares nine-year-old twin boys John and Brian and seven-year-old daughter Ivy
Couple: ‘I love my wife. However, it is not my place to speak for her,’ he said in the announcement
Ben’s decision comes just days after Jessica stepped down from the board of directors of The Shoebox Project, a charity she had founded with her sisters-in-law.
The charity, which collects and distributes gifts in the form of shoeboxes to at-risk women in shelters, was founded by Jessica in collaboration with Ben’s high-profile sisters Caroline, Vanessa, and Katy Mulroney.
In a statement shared on Instagram, the charity said: ‘Jessica Mulroney is a founding member of The Shoebox Project and she has dedicated herself to its growth and success over the years, for which we are very grateful.
‘In light of recent events, the charity supports Jessica’s decision to step away from the Board of Directors.’
The charity also vowed to do better to support BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) women moving forward.
‘To our valued supporters and volunteers, we believe in a world where women feel seen, and are treated with compassion, dignity, and respect,’ the statement continued.
Done: Last week, Jessica (second from left) stepped down from The Shoebox Project, the charity she founded with her sisters-in-law Vanessa, Caroline, and Katy Mulroney (left to right)
Troubles: Jessica is no longer on the board of directors following her race row with Sasha Exeter, a scandal that has allegedly ended her friendship with Meghan Markle
‘As an organization, we are deeply committed to do better for Black and Indigenous women who have been systematically oppressed in Canada and around the world.
‘This is not an issue that will be solved overnight. We pledge to make race an ongoing conversation that occurs regularly and at every level of our organization.’
Jessica’s husband Ben and his three sisters are all prominent figures as the children of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
Caroline is the current Ontario Minister of Transportation and Minister of Francophone Affairs. Her husband is financier Andrew Lapham, the son of former Harper’s Bazaar editor Lewis Lapham.
Vanessa runs her own fashion branding agency, Power of Prive, after previously working as an editor at Condé Nast, and Katy is a financial analyst.
Announcement: The Shoebox Project released a statement on Instagram saying they support her decision to step away
Plans: The charity also vowed to do better to support BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) women moving forward.
Over the past week and a half, Jessica’s ‘white privilege’ scandal has cost her business deals, partnerships, TV shows, and even — reportedly — her friendship with Meghan.
The Duchess of Sussex is said to have permanently cut ties with Jessica after she became embroiled in a race row with an influencer, sources have claimed.
Meghan, 38, first met Jessica while she was filming legal drama Suits in Toronto, and the stylist went on to attend her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018 — however, the royal has now reportedly ended their friendship ‘for good.’
DailyMail.com exclusively revealed last week that Meghan had been left ‘absolutely mortified’ by Jessica’s ‘tone-deaf’ threats to Sasha, and told close friends that she can ‘no longer be associated with her’.
‘Meghan is absolutely mortified that she’s been dragged into this complete mess. She said Jessica is in no way a racist, but the way she handled the situation (with the fashion influencer) was tone-deaf and heartbreaking,’ a close friend of Meghan’s said.
Throwback: The charity collects and distributes gifts to at-risk women in shelters. Jessica is pictured promoting The Shoebox Project with husband Ben in 2018
Important family: Jessica’s husband Ben and his three sisters are all prominent figures as the children of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney
‘Meghan said friends reflect friends and because of what’s at stake she can no longer be associated with Jessica, at least not in public. She has to do what she has to do in order to preserve her dignity and her own reputation,’ they added.
The source added that they ‘wouldn’t be surprised’ if this marked the ‘beginning of the end of their friendship’.
They also said that Meghan cannot publicly defend Jessica in this case or help salvage her career.
‘It’s not like Meghan can just call up ABC and defend Jessica,’ the source said. ‘There was a reason Meghan waited to so long to make a statement. She wanted to get it right. She said she urged Jessica to do the same thing from the get-go.’
Earlier, an insider told Page Six that the duo’s relationship was already on the rocks because Meghan felt that Jessica was trying to ‘make a career out of the friendship.’
‘The white privilege row has really given Meghan the excuse she was waiting for to cut Jess off for good,’ the source said. ‘I don’t know what the tipping point was, but Jess has been on the outs for some time.
‘Their friendship is definitely not what it was. And really, how can you have such a close friendship when one person is basically making a career out of the friendship?’
Representatives for Jessica and Meghan have been contacted for comment.
Old friends: Meghan (seen with Prince Harry in March) first met Jessica while filming Suits in Toronto, and the stylist went on to attend her wedding to Harry in 2018
Scandal: Last week, influencer Sasha Exeter shared a series of unpleasant messages in which Jessica allegedly threatened to sue her
How Jessica Mulroney’s career has progressed since the royal wedding
Canadian stylist Jessica Mulroney’s career has gone from strength to strength since she attended Meghan Markle’s wedding to Prince Harry in May 2018.
The mother-of-three, whose children were page boys and flower girl at the Duchess of Sussex’s nuptials, has since won an array of high-profile TV contracts.
Jessica, 40, who is married to Canadian television host Ben Mulroney, son of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, announced her new wedding reality show with CTV last year.
Her reality show, I Do, Redo, premiered on CTV at the end of March and was also released internationally on Netflix.
The series followed Jessica as she helped couples move on from their disastrous weddings by giving them the nuptials they’ve ‘always dreamed of.’
Jessica has been a regular face presenting a fashion segment for ABC’s Good Morning America since last year.
She also became the spokesperson for The Bay’s bridal brand, which launched in fall 2018.
However, Jessica’s reality TV show has been canceled and she was fired as a bridal marketing specialist last week amid the race row.
ABC has also cut ties with Jessica in her occasional role as a fashion contributor on Good Morning America.
The Bay released a statement last Thursday, confirming that Jessica would no longer be the face of Kleinfeld Canada.
Jessica, who attended Meghan’s baby shower in New York in 2019, was last seen visiting Windsor following the birth of Archie last May.
Though plenty of reports followed claims over her role in Harry and Meghan’s move to Canada earlier this year, the pair have not been spotted together.
Jessica has been careful not to speak out about Meghan too extensively in public, saying last March: ‘Listen, every person has to have a bit of privacy in their life.
‘There are certain things I hold very dear and secret. There are things I’ll never talk about for sure. My life is an open book, but there’s always a few secret pages in the back that nobody will be able to read.’
But in a rare moment she previously appeared to hit out at the media in August, defending Meghan.
Jessica took to Instagram at the time to say the Duchess of Sussex had been unfairly criticized and suggested that race was a factor.
‘When someone faces unfair criticism, you call it out. When that person is your friend and your family, you call those critics what they truly are. Shame on you, you racist bullies,’ Jessica wrote.
She added: ‘Three years of undeserved hate and abuse. It’s enough.’
Jessica had earlier shared a tweet by British actress Jameela Jamil that accused people of bullying Meghan because of her race.
Last month, Jessica revealed she was taking a social media break because ‘someone dear to her’ told her being silent amid racism is not enough.
This comes after Jessica had her reality TV show canceled and was fired as a bridal marketing specialist after ‘threatening’ a Black social media influencer in a row over white privilege.
Jessica admitted last week that ‘I was wrong’ after clashing with the lifestyle blogger amid the George Floyd protests.
Sasha said Jessica ‘took offense to a generic call to action’ that she posted on her Instagram Story weeks ago and that the pair then started arguing.
It’s unclear if the entire dispute happened over Instagram and what specifically was said but, eventually, it resulted in Jessica allegedly threatening Sasha that she would contact companies she had worked with.
Jessica apologized publicly on one of Sasha’s Instagram post after she went public with their dispute, but Sasha claims she then sent her another private message which read: ‘Liable suit. Good luck.’ [sic]
Since then, Jessica, who grew up in a wealthy Jewish family in Canada — has been fired from CTV, which aired the wedding show I Do, Red.
Story: Sasha said Jessica ‘took offense to a generic call to action’ that she posted on her Instagram Story weeks ago and that the pair then started arguing
‘Recent conduct by one of our shows’ hosts, Jessica Mulroney, conflicts with our commitment to diversity and equality,’ the network said in a statement.
Jessica took to Instagram to publicly apologize and say that she took something ‘personally’ that she shouldn’t have.
‘I did not intend in any way to jeopardize her livelihood. We had a disagreement and it got out of hand. For that I am sorry,’ she said. ‘The events that have transpired over the last few days have made it clear that I have work to do.
‘I realize more than ever how being a white, privileged woman has put me far ahead of so many, and in particular those in the Black community. And while I can’t change the past, I can do my part to do better in the future.
‘I respect the decision of CTV and have decided to step away from my professional engagements at this time. I’m going to take this time to reflect, learn and focus on my family.
‘I also want to take a moment to clarify that I have no intention of pursuing any legal action. I was wrong, and for that I am truly sorry.
‘I remain more committed than ever to support anti-racism efforts and will do everything in my power to right this wrong.’
Jessica’s friend and fellow TV presenter Tracy Moore, who is Black, said Jessica had ‘used her extreme privilege to potentially bury a Black sister.’
Response: After Sasha went public with the dispute, Jessica posted this comment publicly on her page
Say what? However, Sasha said she received this message from Jessica following her public apology
‘I am a friend. I am also a Black woman. The emotional labour often falls on our backs to speak up, push through and fight hard,’ Tracy said.
‘Let’s unlearn lashing out at Black women as a legitimate response to feeling called out.’
The cancelation of Jessica’s show was confirmed in a tweet by CTV last Thursday evening that said the recent actions of the I Do, Redo host had conflicted with their ‘commitment to diversity and equality.’
‘Bell Media and CTV encourages our entire team including on-air talent to practice respect, inclusivity and allyship as we pledge to work better and more openly to listen to and amplify Black voices, and not minimize them,’ the statement began.
‘Because recent conduct by one of our shows hosts, Jessica Mulroney, conflicts with our commitment to diversity and equality, CTV has removed ‘I DO REDO’ from all Bell Media channels and platforms effective immediately.’
Hours later, Canadian department store Hudson’s Bay announced on Instagram that ‘in light of recent events’ they too would be distancing themselves from Jessica and would no longer have her serve as the brand’s fashion and bridal specialist.
‘Over the past week Hudson’s Bay has committed to doing better,’ the statement read. ‘As we move forward, our leadership associates and ambassadors must reflect our brand inclusivity, equality and respect for all. We will not tolerate anything less.’
Done: CTV and Hudson’s Bay both dropped Jessica amid the ‘white privilege’ scandal
Sasha, who is based in Toronto, posted her emotional video last week, saying Jessica had threatened her during an argument ‘speaking up’ against racism.
She explained that Jessica had taken offense to a call to action she posted online, causing them to argue about the topics of white privilege and racism but she never shared the full exchange.
Claims: Hours after posting her initial video about her argument with Jessica, Sasha alleged to have been sent further messages ‘threatening a law suit to try and shut you up’
The influencer said the exchange resulted in Jessica saying: ‘I have also spoken to companies and people about the way you have treated me unfairly.
‘You think your voice matters. Well it only matters if you express it with kindness and without shaming people who are simply trying to learn. Good luck.’
Sasha said the exchanges left her fearing for her livelihood as she wondered what Jessica was saying to her brand partners or potential brands she might want to work with.
Sharing the video with her 58,000 followers, she explained: ‘Very early on in this, I was very vocal about wanting my peers with an online presence to speak up, stand up and use their voice for good to help combat what’s going on with this race war.’
‘I’m by no means calling Jess a racist, but she is very well aware of her wealth, her perceived power and privilege because of the color of her skin.
‘And that my friends, gave her the momentary confidence to come for my livelihood in writing. Textbook white privilege really.’
The influencer accused Jessica of ‘never wanting to stand up and use her voice in the first place’ and ‘not understanding why she needed to.’
Final plea: Jessica asked her followers to continued to hold her ‘accountable’
Sasha suggested that Jessica felt ‘sharing that this really wasn’t a problem that she wanted to share on her social channels,’ used ‘excuses that she would be bullied by the public and media,’ and ‘claimed her show was more important to promote.’
Revealing the ‘threatening’ message, Sasha said: ‘I’m still shaking my head at this attempt and the audacity she had.
‘Not only is Mulroney very well aware of her white privilege but just like her fellow Canadian Amy Cooper, she spewed out that threat so effortlessly,’ she said. Cooper was the woman who called police on a Black birdwatcher in Central Park in a video which was widely shared last month.
Sasha continued: ‘But I think what makes this situation really horrendous is the threat or claim she was going ahead to speak to brands or companies that I potentially haven’t worked with or could possibly work with. That is a threat. That’s a threat to my livelihood.’
‘For her to threaten me? A single mother, a single Black mother, during a racial pandemic? Blows my mind, it is absolutely unbelievable.’
Canceled: Jessica’s reality show, I Do, Redo (pictured), premiered on CTV at the end of March and was also released internationally on Netflix
Sasha continued to say that she felt Jessica ‘realized she had screwed up big time’ and ‘that resulted in a lot of back pedaling.’
‘Amidst all this craziness, I remained paralyzed with fear.
‘I stayed up days and nights wondering what could she be saying to my existing brand partners, potential work, potential livelihood. What could this mean for my career?
‘I spoke to my parents, who were legitimately stressed and worried about how this would affect me if I stood up for myself.’
Sasha said that the ‘only take away is this sh** needs to stop right now…You cannot be posting that you stand in solidarity, while attempting to silence somebody via text.’
In a comment posted on the video clip, Jessica said she was ‘unequivocally sorry,’ adding that being Meghan’s ‘closest friend’ has ‘deeply educated’ her about race.
‘As I told you privately, I have lived a very public and personal experience with my closest friend where race was front and centre. It was deeply educational,’ Jessica responded.
She posted another apology to Sasha, this time on her own Instagram page, insisting the former athlete had ‘rightfully called me out for not doing enough when it came to engaging in the important and difficult conversation around race and injustice in our society.
‘I took it personally and that was wrong. I know I need to do better,’ she continued. ‘I want to say from my heart that every more of my apologies to Sasha over the course of the last two weeks privately, and again both publicly and privately today is true.
‘I did not intend in any way to jeopardize her livelihood … for that I am sorry,’ she said.
Previously, Jessica said she was taking a break from social media, after revealing that ‘someone dear to her told her to stand up to racism.’
Jessica, who lives in Toronto with husband Ben, their nine-year-old twin boys John and Brian, and their seven-year-old daughter Ivy, said that she was ‘taking a week off to educate herself.’
The stylist has previously slammed ‘racist bullies’ when she appeared to reference the trolling Meghan was suffering.