The Gray Lady reports on Canada's most famous grey lady—former CTV News chief anchor Lisa LaFlamme

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      The Washington Post, the Times of India Media Group, the Guardian, People magazine...and now, the New York Times have all covered a national controversy involving CTV News.

      Today, the world-famous U.S. newspaper—coincidentally nicknamed the "Gray Lady"—published a story a story with the headline " 'Not My Choice.’ A TV Anchor Is Ousted, and Viewers Ask: Was Sexism to Blame?".

      It came in the wake of a letter from Bell Media president Wade Oosterman denying that LaFlamme had been replaced because of her age, gender, or grey hair.

      It echoed a previous statement by Mirko Bibic, president and CEO of Bell Media's parent company, BCE, who also denied that LaFlamme's outster was linked to her age, gender or grey hair.

      Oosterman's letter was sent to lawyer Paul Champ, who represents unnamed CTV journalists.

      On August 22, Champ wrote to Bibic, alleging that a "toxic work culture" that developed in the CTV national newsroom over the past eight months.

      Champ's allegation has not been proven in court.

      On August 28, CBC News cited three unnamed CTV sources who alleged that management had "ordered the removal of images or video of LaFlamme" from a TV news story about Dove's "Keep the Grey" campaign.

      The CBC News report noted that the Canadian Association of Journalists had expressed "concerns about journalistic freedom at CTV National News".

      Oosterman, however, denied in his letter to Champ that there were any contraventions of CTV's policy on journalistic independence.

      "The Journalistic Independence Policy was put in place by Bell as a fundamental safeguard to ensure the news is covered in a fair, balanced and unbiased manner," Oosterman wrote.

      The policy confers final editorial privilege on the vice president responsible for CTV News, he added.

      This vice president, Michael Melling, went on leave in the wake of the media hoopla over LaFlamme's departure.

      "Mr. Melling quite properly delegated his final editorial privilege to Mr. Richard Gray," Oosterman stated in his letter. "Mr. Gray has assumed the role of acting Vice President CTV News while Mr. Melling is on leave."

      Gray approved the story that aired on August 25 regarding Dove's advertising campaign, Oosterman added.

      "The story included coverage of the campaign itself as well as footage of Ms. LaFlamme," he stated.

      Oosterman closed his letter by urging Champ's clients "to raise their concerns directly with me and to actively participate in the workplace review that is being conducted independent of management, by a third party".

      "In an environment of declining ratings and competition for viewers from global online platforms, the CTV news team needs to work on an integrated and aligned basis, dedicated to a common strategy that enables our journalists to reach our audience on whatever platforms they use to consume our news," Oosterman wrote. "I hope that your clients will work with me on this common goal."

      To date, more than 180,000 names are on an online petition calling on CTV to reinstate LaFlamme as the chief news anchor and senior editor.

      LaFlamme has only issued one public comment about her departure, saying she felt "blindsided" when management informed her on June 29 that her contract would not be renewed.

      LaFlamme, 58, worked for CTV for 35 years, including the last 11 as chief news anchor and senior editor. Her predecessor, Lloyd Robertson, remained in his position until he was 77 years old.