CTV news anchor’s slurs go on the air
Didn’t know microphone was on
By GREG MACDONALD – Toronto Sun
B’deh, b’deh, b’deh … that’s all folks.
CTV NewsNet anchor Avery Haines apologized yesterday morning after insulting lesbians, blacks and the disabled on-air when a studio microphone was inadvertently left on.
The newscaster for the all-news cable channel made the remarks about 8:33 a.m. after verbally stumbling while introducing a taped report on aid to farmers.
When the tape failed to run, the camera remained on Haines. Not realizing she was still on air, Haines made a self-deprecating comment about the stumble.
“I kind of like the little stuttering thing. It’s like equal opportunity, right?” she said. "We’ve got a stuttering newscaster. We’ve got the black, we’ve got the Asian, we’ve got the woman. I could be a lesbian, folk-dancing, black woman stutterer.
“What’s that?” Haines said appearing to be listening to another employee.
“In a wheelchair …” she said, laughing.
Then she continued: “… with a gimping, rubber legs. Yeah really. I’d have a successful career, let me tell you.”
She then went back to her newscast, apparently unaware she had been on camera the whole time.
An ashen-faced Haines apologized for the blunder about 90 minutes later.
“We’ve received several phone calls this morning from viewers who were upset about some comments that were unintentionally aired on CTV NewsNet earlier today,” she said.
“Those viewers were right to call because the comments were insulting and derogatory and they in no way reflect my views or those of CTV Television. On behalf of myself and on behalf of CTV News, I would offer a full and sincere apology. I’m Avery Haines.”
Irate viewers flooded the network with complaint calls.
“It’s not something you hear every day,” said Karen Moncour, a viewer in St. Catharines, Ont., who said she was shocked by the on-air comments.
“I felt surprised and I actually started yelling at the TV set, telling her to be quiet.”
Bob Hurst, CTV’s vice-president of news, refused to comment, saying the incident is under investigation.