Losing Lisa LaFlamme: Familiar Territory

In case you’ve missed the news over the past week or so, here’s a nugget for you.

Here in Canada, Lisa LaFlamme, the anchor of CTV News’ 11PM broadcast, was dismissed.

Since it was first released, this story has become international news: In the United States, People and The Hollywood Reporter have published their own summaries of what happened. The last time I checked Google, stories have also been published in various languages.

LaFlamme’ firing came as a complete shock to her fellow journalists, both at CTV and elsewhere.

And then, there are her viewers. All across Canada, people from all walks of life were stunned by the news.

If you’re reading this from abroad, for some reason an internationally-adequate analogy isn’t coming to me right away. I feel like I need an illustration to explain the impact of what’s going on. But just imagine if, without any warning—or publicly-known indiscretions on their part—someone fired one of your country’s most well-known and respected public figures.

Many people would be shocked and have questions. And in this case… We are, and we do.

Over the past few days I’ve had a lot to say on this topic, but I don’t know if I’ll have time to share my thoughts publicly in writing. Every time I’ve googled news about LaFlamme’s ousting I’ve been met with numerous new takes on the matter. A lot of necessary words have already been said. But today, I heard about this tweet:

Let’s read that again, shall we?:

“There is no reason whatsoever to believe a woman wouldn’t fire a woman because she’s a woman; it happens all the time, if that woman’s job depends on doing it.”

Heather Mallick

Journalists have written quite a bit about the role that age and gender discrimination may have played in what happened. At this point I don’t feel an urge to read more opinion pieces about what went on. Their headlines tell me more than enough. And those of us who are disgusted by what happened are likely all thinking the same thing.

But the quotation that Valentyne shared struck something in me. I remember reading that one of LaFlamme’s female bosses balked at the idea of firing her due to sexism. Her reaction drew heavily from that good old, “How could I be prejudiced against you, when I’m one of you?” excuse. Inside, it made me chuckle, as it touched on a familiar sentiment.

In the crazy world that we live in, Black people screw other Black people over all the time. Especially if it means that they can curry favour with those who (they believe) have power over them.

Some are subtle about their efforts, while others are more brazen. These days there are people making an income from lying about racism: Diminishing its impact, being generally dishonest, and so on. I won’t point anyone out, but I’ve heard about their books and seen their articles.

Meanwhile, getting back to the matter at hand, every so-called reason that I’ve read for LaFlamme’s dismissal has been suspect.

The other day I told myself that the only thing that would make the public accept what happened is if the people at Bell Media (the company that owns CTV News) had some sort of smoking gun.

But at this rate, forget smoking. That thing had better be on fire.

Photo via BDS.Photo on Unsplash






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