CTV executive goes on leave after Lisa LaFlamme controversy
The CTV News chief has taken a leave of absence following the ousting of news anchor Lisa LaFlamme.
Michael Melling, vice president of the news division at CTV’s parent company Bell Media, “has decided to take time off from his current position effective immediately to spend time with his family,” according to an internal memo sent Friday. and obtained by CBC News.
“His decision reflects our shared desire to support the newsroom and do what is best to help the team overcome the current circumstances to focus on delivering the stories that matter to Canadians.”
The memo was signed by Karine Moses, senior vice-president of Bell Media.
However, in a separate statement on Friday, Bell President and CEO Mirko Bibic said Melling was on leave “pending the outcome of [a] workplace review.”
Bell Media said last week that LaFlamme’s dismissal would be subject to independent review.
The review will address concerns about “the working environment in the newsroom,” Bibic said, and will involve confidential interviews with employees who choose to participate.
Melling was criticized for LaFlamme’s abrupt departure from CTV, which raised allegations of sexism and ageism. He took over as head of information in January.
LaFlamme revealed last week that she was “taken aback” by Bell Media’s decision to terminate her contract.
“At 58, I always thought I had a lot more time to tell more stories that impact our daily lives,” she said in a video posted online.
LaFlamme had worked for the network for 35 years. As chief anchor of the flagship newscast, CTV National News with Lisa LaFlamme, she has won “Best National News Presenter” at the Canadian Screen Awards five times, including this year.
Media outlets have suggested a link between LaFlamme’s ousting and her gray hair, which she stopped dyeing during the COVID-19 pandemic, draw praise.
After LaFlamme’s original announcement, Bell Media says his withdrawal was a business decision made to recognize “changing viewing habits”.
The company later said it regretted “the manner in which the news of his departure was communicated”.