"It is my hope that that new anchor is Black, Indigenous, or a person of color who can use this important platform to inspire, lead and make change," Ben Mulroney said

By Ashley Boucher
June 22, 2020 07:25 PM
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Jessica Mulroney's husband, Ben Mulroney, is stepping down as anchor of CTV's ETalk in order to "create a space for a new perspective and a new voice."

Ben, 44, announced the decision during Monday's episode of ETalk, briefly addressing his wife getting called out for abusing her white privilege on social media earlier this month.

"I want to take a moment to speak to you about the situation surrounding my wife Jessica and the next steps I will be taking with Bell Media," Ben said at the top of the show.

Jessica's TV show I Do, Redo was pulled from the same Canadian network on June 11 after lifestyle blogger Sasha Exeter called her out for "textbook white privilege." She will also no longer appear on Good Morning America as a result of the public dispute.

"I love my wife," Ben said in his announcement Monday. "However, it is not my place to speak for her, and today, together, we are committed to doing the work to both learn and understand more about anti-Black racism, as well as learn and understand more about our blindspots."

Ben, who is the son of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, said that for himself, doing so means "acknowledging here today that my privilege has benefitted me greatly."

"And while I have certainly worked hard to build my career I know the systemic racism and injustice helps people like me and harms those who aren't like me — often in ways that are invisible to us. This needs to change," he said. "Last Saturday, I watched on CTV as my colleagues led a national conversation about how we can take action against systemic racism. And that conversation showed me more than ever, we need more Black voices, more Indigenous voices, more people of color in the media as well as every other profession."

Ben Mulroney
CTV

"And that is why I have decided to immediately step away from my role as anchor at ETalk to create space for a new perspective and a new voice," Ben continued. "It is my hope that that new anchor is Black, Indigenous, or a person of color who can use this important platform to inspire, lead, and make change."

Ben will continue to contribute to ETalk by hosting red carpets and "taking on other special projects here at Bell Media."

He will continue to host CTV's Your Morning.

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Bell Media Studios vice president Nanci MacLean said in a statement that the company is "proud of Ben for his decision" to step down and "committed to diversity in front of and behind the camera."

MacLean added that the company "will now begin the process of confirming a new anchor at ETalk in the next few weeks."

Ben and Jessica Mulroney
Andrew Chin/Getty

Exeter, who runs the website SoSasha, revealed earlier this month that she and Jessica had been feuding after the stylist "took offense" to a generic call to action Exeter had posted for influencers and bloggers to use their platforms to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

"What happened next was a series of very problematic behavior and antics that ultimately resulted in [Jessica] sending me a threat in writing last Wednesday," Exeter said in her video posted June 10.

"Listen, I am by no means calling Jess a racist, but what I will say is this: she is very well aware of her wealth, her perceived power and privilege because of the color of her skin. And that, my friends, gave her the momentary confidence to come for my livelihood in writing," the former athlete said, adding that Mulroney's threat was an example of "textbook white privilege."

While Jessica commented on the video to apologize, Exeter shared an update the following day, revealing that Jessica had sent her a direct message threatening a libel lawsuit.

"Here is what happens when you call out somebody with privilege and with wealth," Exeter said on her Instagram Stories. "They publicly make an apology, or a statement, and privately, behind closed doors, they send you a threat of filing a lawsuit against you."

In a subsequent apology, Jessica said that she had "no intention of pursuing any legal action" against Exeter, and announced that she would be stepping away from social media and her professional engagements.