Wendy’s debuted a new look for her mascot in Canada in support of one of the country’s veteran journalists.
Last Thursday, August 25th, Wendy’s Canada unit posted a new profile picture on Twitter. The photo shows Wendy’s mascot rocking gray-colored hair instead of her iconic red hairdo. The image comes with the caption “Because a star is a star regardless of hair color” as well as the hashtags #NewProfilePic and #LisaLaFlamme.
Why did Wendy’s mascot get a gray hair makeover?
The updated look of Wendy’s mascot in Canada is a show of support to Lisa LaFlamme, an award-winning journalist who worked at Bell Media for more than 30 years. She was a correspondent for CTV National News from 2003 to 2010 and became the newscast’s anchor in 2011. But earlier this month, she revealed that she was told on June 29th that her contract was ending, bringing her career at the network to an abrupt end.
On August 15th, LaFlamme posted a video on Twitter, in which she said she was “blindsided” by the network’s decision to let her go and that it was “crushing to be leaving CTV” in a manner that’s not her choice.” “At 58, I still thought I’d have a lot more time to tell more of the stories that impact our daily lives,” LaFlamme added in the video.
Effective September 5th, Omar Sachedina will officially replace LaFlamme as the news program’s chief news anchor and senior editor.
Why was Lisa LaFlamme replaced?
Robyn Doolittle of The Globe and Mail suggested that LaFlamme’s decision to stop coloring her hair blonde during the pandemic was a major factor in her firing from the company. Doolittle reported that a senior CTV official told her that they witnessed a meeting where Bell Media Vice President Michael Melling “asked who had approved the decision to let Lisa’s hair go grey.” The issue of LaFlamme’s hair color reportedly came up again on set one day, when Melling noted that it was taking on a purple hue in the studio lighting.
But in a statement, Bell Media President and Chief Executive Officer Mirko Bibic refuted claims that LaFlamme’s hair color had something to do with the company’s decision to let her go. “The narrative has been that Lisa’s age, gender, or gray hair played into the decision. I am satisfied that this is not the case and wanted to make sure you heard it from me,” he said, stressing that LaFlamme’s departure is a “business decision” to take CTV National News in a “different direction.”
“Broadcasting in Canada is undergoing massive change and Bell Media needs to adapt or be left behind,” Bibic explained. “We are at a crossroads where viewing behaviors have changed dramatically and traditional broadcasting is under severe stress worldwide. In an environment of declining ratings and global online platforms, we can’t keep relying on traditional broadcasting.”
According to The Globe and Mail, journalists within the CTV newsroom issued a letter to Bibic and Bell Media’s board of directors “expressing a lack of confidence in Mr. Melling’s leadership,” “serious concerns” over LaFlamme’s dismissal, and “toxic work culture that has developed at CTV over the past eight months.”
Bibic noted in his statement that an “independent review” has already begun to address concerns raised regarding the working environment in the newsroom.
Brands supporting Lisa LaFlamme
Wendy’s isn’t the only brand in Canada that has shown support for LaFlamme. Without mentioning the journalist’s name, Dove Canada also launched a campaign earlier this month asking its followers to turn their profile pictures to grayscale and donated $100,000 to an organization advocating for inclusive workplaces for women.
Dove Canada’s Twitter account even responded to Wendy’s new profile picture, writing “Looks Beautiful, Wendy!” with the hashtag #KeepTheGrey.
In addition, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Twitter account retweeted its cover of this year’s swimsuit edition featuring Maye Musk, Elon Musk’s mother who also has gray hair, with the comment that “We’re going grey with @Dove in support of women aging confidently on their own terms.”