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Nancy Regan weighs in on Lisa LaFlamme, Dove campaign urging women to 'keep the grey'


Lisa LaFlamme’s dismissal from her role as chief anchor of CTV National News continues to spark conversations -- and fierce backlash -- on social media more than a week after the news broke.

CTV called LaFlamme’s removal a “business decision,” citing “changing viewer habits.”

However, allegations of ageism and sexism have been swirling online since LaFlamme, 58, announced in a video last Monday that she was “blindsided” after finding out in June that Bell Media -- the parent company of CTV News -- was ending her contract.

The company has said neither age nor gender were factors in LaFlamme’s dismissal, but some have pointed to the fact that LaFlamme’s ouster comes after she stopped dyeing her hair during the COVID-19 pandemic -- when salons were forced to shut down -- and let her hair go grey.

Dove Canada is addressing the issue of ageism in a new campaign, by encouraging women to “keep the grey” and embrace aging.

“Women with grey hair are being edged out of the workplace,” says the company in its campaign. “So Dove is going grey."

Dove is encouraging women on social media to turn their profile picture grey and says it is donating $100,000 to Catalyst, a Canadian organization that helps build inclusive workplaces for women.

While Dove doesn’t mention LaFlamme in the campaign, the launch comes on the heels of her high-profile dismissal from CTV News. It’s unclear if the campaign is tied directly to the controversy.


It’s a topic that hits close to home for Nancy Regan, who spent over a decade on television, starting in the 1980s.

“She was the face of the national news network, so for her to just be gone like that was shocking, not only to her audience, but to me as someone who’s been in that role,” says Regan, an author and former host of Live of Five, now known as CTV News at Five, which airs on CTV.

Regan also says she can relate to female journalists who have spoken out about viewers commenting on their looks.

“When I was on TV, all I ever heard about was my hair,” she recalls. "I heard more people talk about my hair than any story I ever did.”

Regan decided to go grey several years ago, partly out of convenience, but also because it makes her feel more authentic.

She says she was encouraged when LaFlamme also let her hair go grey.

“I have to say that I celebrated when I saw Lisa LaFlamme go silver on air, and I do consider it silver!” says Regan. “I am not an old grey mare. I am a silver fox, and I want every woman with silver hair to take that attitude.”


Someone else who has been following the fallout online is digital anthropologist Giles Crouch.

“The backlash is huge and I think it’s probably bigger than Lisa herself expected, or certainly Bell Media,” says Crouch.

“They’re saying, so, men are allowed to go grey and they can have a big farewell, but when it comes to women, they’re not allowed to go grey. And they’re not allowed to have that big farewell that men are. So they see that as a very sexist viewpoint.”

As for the new campaign from Dove Canada, Crouch says it’s picking up steam -- and fast.

“It’s doing really well. The volume of shares on social media is significant,” he says.

Meanwhile, Regan hopes the campaign will empower women to embrace aging.

“Your worth is not in the colour of your skin, or in the colour of your eyes, or in the colour of your hair,” she says.

“It sounds corny, but it’s the colour of your soul and what you’re bringing to work every day, or to life every day, to the people around you, and what kind of light you’re bringing in to the world.”

Bell Media said in a statement on Friday that CTV “regrets” how it communicated LaFlamme’s departure to viewers.

The company also announced that an independent third-party internal workplace review will be conducted in the Scarborough newsroom in the coming weeks.

Before LaFlamme’s dismissal, the award-winning journalist had worked for CTV News for 35 years. She had anchored CTV National News since 2011, following Lloyd Robertson’s retirement. Top Stories

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