'Fire Michael Melling': Viewers call for CTV exec's leave to be made 'permanent'

As "CTV News" head Michael Melling goes on leave following long-time anchor Lisa LaFlamme's recent termination, some people are calling on Bell Media to make his absence "permanent."

According to an internal email sent to Bell Media news team members Friday afternoon, Melling went on leave on his own accord in hopes of spending more time with his loved ones.

"Michael Melling has decided to take leave from his current role effective immediately to spend time with this family," reads a note sent by Bell senior vice president of content development and news Karine Moses.

"His decision reflects our shared desire to support the newsroom and do what's best to help the team move past the current circumstances to focus on delivering the stories that matter to Canadians."

Moses added in her memo that Richard Gray, who's currently a regional general manager for the eastern region, will step in for Melling.

However, Bell president and CEO Mirko Bibic posted his own statement on LinkedIn on Friday, addressing some of the "heavy criticism" and "concerns" people have raised against the media giant, while noting that Melling's absence wasn't a personal decision.

Bell president and CEO Mirko Bibic wrote a LinkedIn post addressing some of the
Bell president and CEO Mirko Bibic wrote a LinkedIn post addressing some of the "heavy criticism" and "concerns" people have raised, while mentioning that "CTV News" head Michael Melling was placed on leave "effective immediately, pending the outcome" of a workplace review. (Screenshot via LinkedIn)

"To address concerns raised regarding the working environment in the newsroom, we have begun an independent review involving confidential interviews with all newsroom employees who choose to participate. Any necessary changes that become evident will be implemented swiftly to ensure a respectful, unified workplace," Bibic wrote.

"I also want to address the situation of our vice president of national news, Michael Melling, who has been the subject of various allegations. Michael is on leave effective immediately, pending the outcome of the workplace review that is proceeding."

Amid the news, people have taken to social media to call for Bell to permanently terminate Melling.

Over the past couple of weeks, Melling was accused of questioning Lisa LaFlamme's decision to let her hair go grey, and for interfering with CTV's news coverage following LaFlamme's dismissal.

On Aug. 15, LaFlamme voiced her own experience with Bell Media when she was informed on June 29 that her contract would be ending. After spending 35 years working for the company, LaFlamme explained how she felt "blindsided" in a video — which has since been viewed more than 4.5 million times — posted to her Twitter account.

Following LaFlamme's news of her contract being terminated, a former "etalk" host also spoke out about alleged mistreatment and gender discrimination.

Danielle Graham, who spent 17 years working for Bell Media, revealed she also had her contract suddenly terminated, and was only compensated three months severance.

"March 1: I brought to management's attention a situation where it was clear I was being discriminated against as a woman. I was ignored and laughed at," she began. "March 4: I forwarded this example of the blatant gender discrimination I was facing to HR. March 7: HR told me to file a formal complaint and that an investigation would commence. March 8: A meeting to discuss these issues was set for March 11."

However, things quickly took a turn for the worse, according to Graham.

"Instead, on March 11, I was re-scheduled to be in the office for a 'shoot,'" she wrote. "As I was getting ready in my office, I was suddenly told by management, 'Your services are no longer required.' I was told it was a 'business decision.'"

In a second slide, Graham went on to explain more of her experience with being let go so suddenly.

"I was not allowed to say goodbye on-air or to contribute to the messaging surrounding my departure, despite several requests from my representative to do so," she penned. "I was given three months severance for my 17 years there.

"I'm proud to stand in solidarity and fight alongside all women who have been mistreated, discriminated against and who have been retaliated against for speaking up."