Bell’s CEO Explains LaFlamme’s Firing On LinkedIn…. And It Went About As Well As You Expect It Would, Meaning It Went Badly… And It Gets Worse

The heat must really be on Bell over Lisa LaFlamme’s firing. Because the CEO of Bell Mirko Bibic has taken to of all places, LinkedIn to explain the firing late on Friday. Which to be frank is very odd to do to begin with. I encourage you to read the full statement. But there’s two things that jumped out at me. First was this:

Since Bell Media’s decision to end her contract, there has been heavy criticism. The narrative has been that Lisa’s age, gender or grey hair played into the decision. I am satisfied that this is not the case and wanted to make sure you heard it from me. While I would like to say more on the Bell Media decision, we are bound by a mutual separation agreement negotiated with Lisa, which we will continue to honour.

Honestly, that sounds like he’s trying to hide behind whatever separation agreement is in place to avoid answering any questions about this. Which is as good as not answering any questions and it makes it look like he has something to hide or that LaFlamme’s “age, gender or grey hair played into the decision.” As for the part of him being “satisfied that this is not the case”, we’ll come back to that in a moment.

The second thing that jumps out at me is this:

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.

So wait. Yesterday I posted this story where this was the reason why he left:

CityNews has obtained a copy of the email sent to staff, informing them that Michael Melling, the vice-president of news for Bell Media, is stepping away from his role “to spend time with his family.”

“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,” the memo reads.

Spending time with his family is way different than being “on leave effective immediately, pending the outcome of the workplace review that is proceeding.” And the only reason you put someone, specifically the guy who made the decision to fire LaFlamme “on leave effective immediately, pending the outcome of the workplace review that is proceeding” is that someone at Bell, probably Bibic, believes that Melling has done something wrong. Which means that Bibic’s statement that he is “satisfied that this is not the case” is kind of bogus.

The net result is that this statement has pretty much done nothing to put this public relations disaster to bed. In fact, it’s likely made it worse based on the comments that I am seeing in this LinkedIn post. Here’s a few examples:

Bibic might have been better off saying nothing. But I am guessing that some PR person at Bell thought by dropping a LinkedIn post late on a Friday would be a great way to put this to bed. But unsurprisingly whoever thought that this was a good idea was dead wrong. And now Bell has more blowback to deal with as a result. It truly can’t get worse for Bell?

Actually it can. From a reader of this blog who tipped me off to this. Here’s worse.

If you look at the names on this open letter, there are some prominent Canadian names there. That’s a major problem for Bell as the pressure level has just increased on them in a significant way. As a result, Bell really needs to up their game in terms of how they respond to this PR disaster. Because what they’re doing is clearly not working.

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