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On two occasions Wendy Mesley disciplined for use of ‘offensive language’

Posted in Canada, Featured

Published on June 26, 2020 with No Comments

Host apologizes for use of racial epithet during editorial meetings, after internal investigation.

CBC News host Wendy Mesley has been disciplined after an internal investigation found she used “offensive language on two separate occasions during editorial meetings,” both the host and CBC confirmed Thursday.

The first incident took place last fall, according to a statement from Chuck Thompson, CBC’s head of public affairs, “while discussing a book title, and then again more recently in preparation for a piece on anti-racism.”

Thompson did not clarify what punishment Mesley was handed. Mesley was suspended from hosting on June 9 after she said she “used a word that should never be used” during an editorial discussion about race.

Mesley posted a lengthy statement on Twitter on Thursday, addressing the now-concluded investigation. “I used a word, and yes, it’s the word people think,” she wrote. “I thought that by saying the word, I was somehow exposing the truth. I now realize that my abuse of the word was harmful. I hurt my colleagues, my team and the CBC. For that I am deeply sorry and ashamed.

“Words are powerful. And when people of power use certain words, we abuse our privilege.”

Mesley also described in her statement an incident from September 2019 when she said she used the same racial epithet while preparing for an episode of The Weekly about Bill 21, a law in Quebec that bars public school teachers, police officers and government lawyers, among other civil servants, from wearing religious symbols — like hijabs or turbans — while at work.

Mesley said she referenced the title of a 1968 book by journalist Pierre Vallières, the title of which includes the N-word, and which she called “one of the more influential tomes of Quebec political thought.”

“The book uses the full word, and argues that white francophones are victims of discrimination … I said the full title in the meeting,” she wrote.


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