A top Canadian news anchor has told of her shock at the outpouring of support after she was fired last year, in a move widely believed to be due to her decision to stop dyeing her hair.
Lisa LaFlamme, 58, was let go by the CTV News on June 29 after the company made a ‘business decision’ to abruptly end her contract after 35 years.
She is unable to discuss the circumstances surrounding her departure, due to a confidentiality agreement – but said she was taken aback by the response, which she said far outweighed the reaction to her reports.
‘The most comments I ever received were not for months in Baghdad or Afghanistan, or any story, but when I let my hair grow gray — bar none,’ LaFlamme told The New York Times.
‘And I will say this, 98 percent positive, except a couple of men and a woman — it’s funny that I can actually remember that — but they were summarily destroyed on social media because women do support women.’
Lisa LaFlamme, 58, was fired from the Canadian news network CTV in June. On Friday, she said she was astonished at the outpouring of support she received
LaFlamme said she began dyeing her hair in her 20s, but stopped during the pandemic, and found it liberating
LaFlamme said that she has been astonished at the support. In response to CTV’s decision, Wendy’s Canada temporarily switched their mascot’s locks from red to gray, and Dove Canada published adverts on her behalf.
The Globe and the Mail published a open letter from prominent Canadians in its newspaper, condemning the company for firing her over ‘the color of her hair.’
Senators, celebrities and a UN official expressed anger at the decision.
‘People are so amazingly kind,’ she said on Friday.
‘The support has been mind-blowing. It’s really been a shock to me.’
LaFlamme told the paper that she began dyeing her hair in her 20s, and took Nice ‘n Easy over-the-counter dye with her on reporting trips.
The veteran reporter recalled coloring her hair in the women’s toilets at Kandahar Airfield and in a Baghdad bunker.
At the beginning of the pandemic, she was forced to start using spray dye.
‘There was hair dye on my pillowcases — and I also had menopause and had night sweats — and the pillowcases were disgusting,’ she said.
LaFlamme is pictured at the 2015 Canadian Screen Awards
LaFlamme won the Canadian Screen Award for Best News Anchor in August 2022 (pictured with her award in August)
Wendy’s Canada was the first business to step forward with direct support for LaFlamme, changing the iconic red logo to gray and called the journalist a ‘star’
Dove Canada also launched a campaign called Aging is Beautiful after LaFlamme announced her departure from CTV. The company wrote: ‘We should all be able to do it [age] on our own terms and without any consequences’
When the second wave of lockdowns in Canada began, LaFlamme stopped dyeing her hair – inspired by an older sister, and a female boss.
She said, live on air, that she felt liberated.
Yet The Globe and Mail reported that the decision did not go down well with the then-head of CTV, who asked in a meeting who had approved the decision to ‘let Lisa’s hair go gray.’
LaFlamme was angered at being unable to depart on her own terms, and instead posted a video to Twitter in August.
‘I guess this is my sign off from CTV,’ she said.
‘While it is crushing to be leaving CTV National News in a manner that is not my choice, please know that reporting to you has been the greatest honor of life.’
LaFlamme is seen in her Twitter video, bidding goodbye to viewers
Bell Media – which owns CTV – said that narrative was incorrect, but declined to provide the real reasoning behind it.
Mirko Bibic, CEO of Bell Media, defended the decision
‘The narrative has been that Lisa’s age, gender or gray hair played into the decision. I am satisfied that this is not the case and wanted to make sure you heard it from me,’ CEO Mirko Bibic wrote on LinkedIn.
‘While I would like to say more on the Bell Media decision, we are bound by a mutual separation agreement negotiated with Lisa, which we will continue to honor.’
Some pointed out that Peter Mansbridge and Lloyd Robertson, both male anchors with gray hair, still have jobs.
Another noted that Bell Media treated one of its highest staff members badly and said: ‘Just imagine how they treat the folks at the bottom.’
Bell Media has faced prior criticism for allegedly having a toxic workplace, including allegations of sexual harassment, bullying, and inappropriate behavior.
Bibic also addressed this in his statement, saying the media company has ‘begun an independent review’ and will be interviewing all newsroom employees during the process.
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk