This past week, a series of Canadian media personalities have issued apologies in the wake of fallout arising from controversies about racial issues.
An investigation into the use of offensive language by a CBC News host has resulted in disciplinary action.
The Weekly host Wendy Mesley had been suspended on June 9 after using a racial slur during an editorial meeting.
Mesley had apologized on social media, and explained that she was quoting a journalist who was to be a panelist on a forthcoming segment.
An internal investigation was launched and, on June 25, the public broadcaster confirmed that Mesley had used “offensive language” on two separate occasions during editorial meetings.
On June 25, Mesley posted an explanation on social media.
She said that she used the word not as a slur but in her “desire to share and expose an outrage amid this much-needed reckoning with anti-Black racism” and that, as a journalist with 35 years of experience in pursuit of the truth, by using the term, she thought she was “exposing the truth”.
In addition, she clarified that she was not directly quoting the journalist but used the full word the journalist had been called, not the abbreviated form that the journalist had used.
However, she said that she realizes now that her “abuse of the word” was “harmful” and hurt others.
In addition, she referred to an incident in September 2019 in which she said the title of a 1968 book by journalist Pierre Vallières, which includes the same racial slur, during a meeting for The Weekly.
“I thought that by using the word in reference to journalism I was shining a light on anti-Black racism,” she explained. “I now realize that I did the opposite and I am now one example of the problem."
On June 26, CBC associate producer and journalist Imani Walker stated on social media that she was present on the call when the racial slur was used.
In response, CBC has suspended the remaining episodes of the current season of The Weekly, but has not yet revealed what disciplinary actions will be taken.
Meanwhile, Lainey Gossip blogger, eTalk anchor, and The Social cohost Elaine Lui also faced criticism this past week for blog posts in the 2000s that she admitted were racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and transphobic.
She apologized on The Social on June 25 , and she explained that she was a part of toxic celebrity culture as she found popularity and success.
“The Lainey Gossip website has evolved in that time and I have addressed and apologized over the years for these sins however accountability is not temporary, it’s ongoing, so I’m here today to be accountable,” she stated.
She said she wasn’t going to delete those posts because they are a part of her “ugly history” and her shame, and to show that “self-absolution has no place in this conversation—it’s about accountability”.
Lui's apology came after fellow eTalk anchor Ben Mulroney stepped down from the show.
His resignation was in response to fallout from Black lifestyle blogger Sasha Exeter revealing how his wife, Jessica Mulroney, threatened her during a dispute about racial issues. CTV cancelled Jessica Mulroney’s reality TV show I Do, Redo and ABC’s Good Morning America has also dropped her as a contributor.
Ben Mulroney will remain a cohost of CTV’s Your Morning.