The public relations fiasco continues at CTV National News in the wake of the ouster of chief correspondent Lisa LaFlamme.
On August 18, the Globe and Mail's Robyn Doolittle reported that the head of CTV National News, Michael Melling, allegedly asked at a meeting who had approved of the decision to "let Lisa's hair go grey".
Then today (August 19), Canadaland posted a partial transcript of CTV National News bosses' meeting with staff, some of whom asked fairly devastating questions about why LaFlamme's contract wasn't renewed.
One employee asked if LaFlamme's age or hair colour didn't align with the vision of CTV National News.
Another staff member asked how CTV National News can rebuild trust after all the negative press.
"I think it’s a great question, and I hear where you’re coming from," Melling replied, according to the Canadaland transcript. "I think we have built that trust over 60 years and there is currency there. It’s definitely been difficult, but I do feel that if we focus on moving forward, as a team from this, and on what we do as journalists, we will be able to rebuild and push forward on that 60 years of trust we’ve worked so hard to build over the years."
LaFlamme's video, in which she said she was "blindsided", has now been viewed more than 4.4 million times.
LaFlamme revealed that she's 58 in the video above and had expected that she would be able to tell many more stories.
Her predecessor, Lloyd Robertson, continued as the grey-haired chief correspondent until he was 77 years old.
A nonscientific survey of Straight.com readers showed that 78 percent felt that LaFlamme should be reinstated as chief correspondent and senior editor of CTV National News.
CTV is owned by Bell Media, which is owned by telecommunications giant BCE Inc.
On Thursday (August 18), BCE shares underperformed the market for the second consecutive day.
The biggest danger for Melling and other Bell Media executives who had a hand in this decision is if the BCE share price continues to lag.
How could that happen?
For one, if a significant number of people who are outraged over LaFlamme's firing decided to switch their telecommunications allegiance from Bell to Rogers, Telus, or any of the smaller players.
And what would really get the attention of the big bosses at BCE is if companies or public agencies dropped Bell because they felt the decision not to renew LaFlamme's contract was sexist or ageist.
If this were accompanied by the loss of big advertising accounts at CTV National News, that would only magnify the pain for BCE shareholders.
Let's face it—in today's corporate world, money talks and bullshit is rewarded if there are no financial consequences.
Corporate directors and officers love their stock options, but those paper assets lose their value in a hurry when the stock price plunges.
So what do you say, Canada? Are you willing to put your money where your mouth is in opposing ageism and sexism?
Perhaps ardent LaFlamme defender Arlene Dickinson, a panelist on Dragons' Den, might want to be the first to step forward with her response.