Jessica Mulroney has been dropped from her role as a TV presenter with a Canadian network after having a disagreement with a black social media influencer over white privilege.
The presenter – whose reality bridal show I Do, Redo has now been dropped from the network – has since apologised for her behaviour, which influencer Sasha Exeter says had left her "paralysed in fear".
"I have felt like a complete fraud fighting for racial equality and using my voice openly here, while letting a white woman silence mine behind closed doors," Exeter wrote in a caption on Instagram. "In sharing this very personal story, I know that I am risking a lot. Opening myself up to criticism, bullying and potential ramifications with my job in this space. However, I must speak my truth. Enough is enough."
Exeter posted a lengthy video where she explained that Mulroney had taken offence to a generic suggestion to all of her followers to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement, which escalated into a disagreement and eventually, a threat.
"Jessica Mulroney took offence to a very generic call to action that I shared on my Instagram Stories and what happened next was a series of very problematic behaviours and antics that ultimately resulted in her sending me a threat in writing last Wednesday.
"I am by no means calling Jess a racist, but I will say this – she is very well aware of her wealth, her perceived power and her privilege because of the colour of her skin. And that, my friends, gave her the momentary confidence to come for my livelihood in writing. Textbook white privilege really.
"Jessica never wanted to stand up and use her voice in the first place and didn't understand why she needed to. This I found quite strange seeing as she is very vocal about supporting many causes so how could she not be speaking up about this issue that's affecting everyone in the world. Also, her best friend is arguably one of the most famous black women in the world."
"She began to lash out at me. Over the space of a week, she ticked every box of what a white woman should absolutely not do during the biggest racial uproar in history, citing that this really wasn't a problem that she wanted to share on her social channels and that she would be vilified by the media."
By the end of the week, Mulroney wrote the following message to Exeter, which she saw as a threat.
"I have also spoken to companies and people about the way you've treated me unfairly. You think your voice matters, well it only matters if you express it with kindness and without shaming people who are simply trying to learn. Good luck."
Following Exeter's post, the CTV network terminated Mulroney's contract, citing that her recent conduct "conflicts with [their] commitment to diversity and equality".
Mulroney has since apologised for her behaviour and has promised to "continue the important work of anti-racism".
"As some of you may have seen, Sasha Exeter and I had a disagreement," Mulroney wrote on Instagram. "She rightfully called me out for not doing enough when it came to engaging in the important and difficult conversation around race and injustice in our society. I took it personally and that was wrong. I know I need to do better. Those of us with a platform must use it to speak out."
"I did not intend in any way to jeopardise her livelihood. We had a disagreement and it got out of hand. For that I am sorry.
"I plan to use this time to reflect, learn and listen. I have also asked Sasha if she would be willing to take over my account whenever she is comfortable and tell her story.
"The real work of bringing change goes beyond Instagram and I want you all to know that I'm committed to using every platform and resource available to me to continue the important work of anti-racism. I hope you will all continue to hold me accountable."
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