May 18, 2017 / 5:30 PM / 5 months ago

Top CBC editor removed amid Canada cultural appropriation dispute

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The managing editor of Canada’s flagship nightly news program was reassigned from his post, a spokesman said on Thursday, the third media executive to step down amid a controversy around cultural appropriation and the lack of diversity in Canadian literature.

Steve Ladurantaye was removed as managing editor of national broadcaster Canadian Broadcasting Corp’s The National show after he tweeted that he would contribute to an “appropriation prize” for authors writing about other cultures.

The media fire storm was sparked by an editorial in the Writers’ Union of Canada magazine that suggested there should be a prize for the “best book by an author who writes about people who aren’t even remotely like her or him.”

The editorial, which was contained in an issue that featured Indigenous authors, gained traction on Twitter with prominent media personalities, including some of the nation’s best-known columnists, who joked that they would donate to starting up the prize. Hal Niedzviecki, who wrote the editorial, later resigned as editor of Write magazine.

The controversy has struck a nerve in Canada, which prides itself on being culturally diverse but has struggled with its legacy of treatment of the country’s original inhabitants. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to rebuild ties with the country’s 1.4 million aboriginals.

Ladurantaye had tweeted that he would donate C$100 ($74) to the prize. He subsequently deleted the tweet and apologized.

CBC’s head of news, Jennifer McGuire, “has made a decision that the work of redeveloping The National needs the full attention and focus of the team, and ​that is not possible given the current circumstances,” spokesman Chuck Thompson said. 

Jonathan Kay also left as editor in chief of The Walrus magazine following an opinion piece he wrote for the National Post newspaper on the right to debate cultural appropriation.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Dan Grebler

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