Canadian news anchor Lisa LaFlamme was recently fired from CTV News, and there are allegations the station's decision to let her go had something to do with her appearance. Specifically, reports suggest she was fired for letting her hair go gray, sparking a conversation about sexist, ageist beauty standards.
After 35 years with CTV, the former chief news anchor and senior editor was let go on August 15, 2022; it was a "business decision" based on "changing viewer habits," according to a press release. LaFlamme posted her own response to the news on Twitter that same day, saying she was "blindsided" by the decision in a video that now has more than 4.6 million views, 88,000 likes, and 10,000 retweets. "At 58, I still thought I'd have a lot more time to tell more of the stories that impact our daily lives," she said in the clip.
While the news was initially disappointing to many of LaFlamme's fans, things took a turn when rumors started churning about why she was let go. The head of CTV News, Michael Melling, reportedly questioned why LaFlamme let her hair go gray before she was fired, according to a senior CTV official who was there at the time, reports The Globe and Mail.
LaFlamme stopped dyeing her hair in 2020, and she was met with positive feedback from viewers doing the same during the COVID-19 pandemic, notes The Globe and Mail. She even explained her decision to change up her look on air during a network special. Unable to get her hair done due to COVID-19 restrictions, "I finally said, 'Why bother? I'm going gray,'" she explained at the time, according to the publication. "Honestly, if I had known the lockdown could be so liberating on that front I would have done it a lot sooner."
LaFlamme is certainly not the only person who felt relieved to no longer dye their hair. Recently, celebrities, such as Andie MacDowell and Sarah Jessica Parker, have shared their thoughts on letting their hair go gray — a decision that tends to make news despite not really being newsworthy at all. "I was like, please, please applaud someone else's courage on something," Parker told Allure after she made headlines for being seen in public with gray hair.
Although the president and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada (the parent company of CTV News) recently denied the decision to end LaFlamme's contract was due to her age, gender, or hair color in a LinkedIn post, many people have expressed their outrage at the situation. A quick search on Twitter reveals countless posts about LaFlamme and how ageist beauty standards have no place in 2022.
Even a few large companies showed their support for LaFlamme online. The Canadian Wendy's Twitter account posted an image of its logo depicting its mascot Wendy with gray hair. Dove Canada shared a video with text reading: "Women with gray hair are being edged out of the workplace. So Dove is going gray." It unveiled a gray dove logo, differing from its usual gold color, and called on followers to show support by posting a black-and-white profile picture. Dove also announced it's donating $100,000 to Catalyst, a non-profit that helps build inclusive workplaces for women.
While there are still many questions surrounding LaFlamme's departure from her news anchor position, one thing's clear: People are fed up with adhering to outdated, ageist beauty standards, especially in the workplace. It's 2022, and there are far more newsworthy events than a woman in the public eye showing signs of aging. (In case you need a refresher, read all about Jane Fonda's positive outlook on aging.)