'Immature and unfair': Stephen LeDrew speaks out against bosses who fired him
Stephen LeDrew regrets that he is no longer working at CP24, but says he isn't sorry for making an appearance on FOX News' Tucker Carlson Tonight.
The former co-host on the Toronto cable network was known for his opinions on local political issues in the news. But when LeDrew was invited on FOX in late November, his employer said he crossed a line.
During his appearance on the American network, LeDrew was grilled about a 15 letter acronym that was being used to promote LGBTQ inclusivity training for some Ontario teachers.
LeDrew was suspended the next day, and then subsequently fired by Bell Media, which owns CP24. He spoke to As It Happens host Carol Off about his termination.
Mr. LeDrew, what happened after you appeared on the Tucker Carlson Show?
That was on a Wednesday night, and on the Thursday morning, when I went to work, I was called into a meeting and they said, "You were on FOX Network last night." And I said, "Yes." And they said that's against the rules." I said, "What's the problem with it?" And they said, "Well FOX is a competitor of CP24. And as was reported in The Sun, I just sort of chuckled a little bit and said that's ridiculous.
I said I wasn't paid. I was a guest and I was defending Canada and defending values. And then around 7 o'clock that evening, I got a call at home saying I was suspended for seven days.
Why were you fired then?
They said [in] the gag order ... I would not appear on any other stations or anything else. Everybody knew I was suspended. It went around like wildfire. And they called and they said why were you suspended? And I read from the letter and said because I appeared on FOX. After the end of my suspension I was fired. And then they said while you were under suspension, you spoke to other news agencies during which you sensationalized your suspension in an attempt to tarnish the reputation of CP24.
Tucker Carlson made this declaration that in Canada there is inclusiveness training run amuck. And that children are going to be forced to understand not what just LGBTQ means but LGGBDTTTIQQAAPP. Can you just characterize the conversation that you had with him about that?
I was defending it. Not in particular initials or names. I have a lot of contacts and friends and family in the gay community. And I said to Tucker, "What's the matter with having inclusiveness? What does it cost you, Tucker? In the States you guys are ripping each other apart and in Canada, we have an inclusive society. We are welcoming people no matter what their gender or their choice."
There was just one remark you made. Because people have thought that this is why you got flak. Do you know what two-spirited means?
I do now. I've acted for Indigenous peoples and as I said, I have many contacts and friends. All those initials that you just spelled out Carol...I still don't know what they all mean.
Two-spirited...just if people don't know, this is for Indigenous people. It means someone carries the male and female spirit.
What do you make of what you were asked to do [on Tucker Carlson]? Why did you agree to go on?
I wanted to clarify it. I saw the context of it and it was from the teachers' union. I believe it was from Durham, Ontario. He's going to pick on Canada, and I said, "Well I can defend this."
You do get set up on that show, do you not?
I've been debating since I was 15 at university. I'm not afraid to go on and take on Tucker Carlson. I went back on this week.
Why did you go back on?
To explain, why not?
I received 200 emails and many phone calls. I was proud to be on CP24. I liked my TV show. I liked the guests and the issues we approached. And I thought it was a pretty good public affairs show.
Do you regret that you made this appearance on this show?
No I don't. I regret not being on the air now. But I just could not believe that I would be first suspended and then fired for going on an American network.
What do you feel about that?
I just think it's very immature and unfair. I miss my TV show and I enjoy my show very, very much.