CTV executive Michael Melling to take leave after Lisa LaFlamme ousted
Bell Media vice president of news Michael Melling is taking time off from his job, according to an internal Bell Media memo, as the company continues to face criticism over the firing of CTV national anchor Lisa The flame.
It has been two weeks since LaFlamme was terminated, a decision some laid at Melling’s feet, sparking outrage from viewers nationwide. The longtime TV journalist broke the news in a video posted to social media in which she said she was « blindsided » by the news.
The memo says Melling’s decision « reflects our shared desire to support the newsroom and do what’s best to help the team weather the current circumstances. »
Mirko Bibic, president and chief executive of Bell Canada, said in a statement that the furlough was effective immediately « pending the outcome of the workplace review. » The company announced a workplace review following the LaFlamme controversy.
Melling, who worked his way to the top of the company after joining as an editorial assistant in 2003, was named vice president in January.
Several CTV employees who spoke to the Star blamed what they describe as the current difficult climate at the feet of news chief Melling, while one said the organization’s problems the preceded, but were « amplified ». During his tenure.
Former employees told the Star that Melling’s time at CTV News was characterized by cuts, layoffs and a shift from expensive broadcast equipment to using more mobile devices for reporting and photography. They added that this created an atmosphere of low morale and apathy in the newsroom.
Some other current or former CTV News employees said the culture of low morale existed long before Melling was promoted to vice president of news.
Last week, The Globe and Mail reported that LaFlamme’s hair « turning gray » was questioned by Melling. It helped spark a national conversation about ageism and sexism in the media, with companies like Dove and Wendy’s launching campaigns to support gray hair.
In a statement to The Star sent ahead of his departure announcement, Melling said the report was « categorically untrue. »
“Serious and harmful anonymous allegations about me have been made or published in recent days which are categorically untrue, including but not limited to accusations that age, sex or hair color have been factors in recent events, » Melling said.
« Major organizational changes are always carefully reviewed and approved before proceeding. »
He added that he has always been committed to a respectful workplace.
A current CTV employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to concerns about his job, said Melling walked past newsroom staff at the end of the day and only say goodbye to him. Newsroom staff received the internal memo shortly thereafter.
The employee said he was personally relieved to learn of Melling’s leave.
« I think if that means things will calm down and we can get back to doing our jobs and focusing, then I’m happy about that. »
According to the memo, Richard Gray, currently Regional General Manager, Eastern Region, will step in as Acting Vice President of News, supported by Karine Moses, Senior Vice President of Content Development and News.
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