- in In Pictures
A Canadian broadcaster has pulled the TV series of a fashion stylist who was accused of “white privilege” in a row with a black social media influencer.
Jessica Mulroney had a dispute with Sasha Exeter over her support for the anti-racism protests sweeping the US.
Ms Exeter said the TV presenter, a close friend of Megan Markle, threatened to damage her career.
Mrs Mulroney, 40, has since apologised to Ms Exeter, accepting she should have done more to speak out against racism.
On Thursday, Canadian network CTV said Mrs Mulroney’s reality TV show, I Do, Redo, had been removed with immediate effect.
The network said the show – which saw couples redo weddings that had gone wrong – had been withdrawn from all its channels and platforms because Ms Mulroney’s conduct conflicted with its “commitment to diversity and equality”.
In a statement on Twitter, Mrs Mulroney said she respected CTV’s decision and had decided to step back from professional life for the time being.
The network’s announcement was made after Ms Exeter recounted details of her argument with Mrs Mulroney in a 12-minute-long video posted to her Instagram page.
In_pictures What did Ms Exeter say?
Ms Exeter said Mrs Mulroney “took offence” with her promotion of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has spearheaded protests in response to the killing of George Floyd in police custody.
“What happened next was a series of very problematic behaviour and antics that ultimately resulted in her [Mrs Mulroney] sending me a threat in writing last Wednesday,” Ms Exeter said.
The social media influencer, who has more than 100,000 followers on Instagram, said the threat was a textbook example of “white privilege”.
In a message to Ms Exeter, Mrs Mulroney allegedly wrote: “I have also spoken to companies and people about the way you have 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.”
The message, Ms Exeter said, left her “paralysed in fear”.
“She is very well aware of her wealth, her perceived power and perceived privilege because of the colour of her skin and that, my friends, gave her the momentary confidence to come for my livelihood in writing,” she said.
She also expressed disappointment that Mrs Mulroney had not used her platform to support Black Lives Matter, despite being “very vocal” about other causes.
This was surprising, Ms Exeter said, given Mrs Mulroney’s friendship with “one of the most famous black women in the world”, referring to Ms Markle.
In_pictures What did Mrs Mulroney say in response?
She has shown contrition in two separate statements she released on her Twitter and Instagram profiles.
“As some of you may have seen, @sashaexeter and I had a disagreement,” she wrote, in a statement shared with her almost 400,000 Instagram followers on Thursday.
“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.”
She apologised to Ms Exeter, saying she did “not intend in any way to jeopardise” her career.
Mrs Mulroney she had “no intention of pursuing any legal action”, countering reports that Ms Exeter had been “privately threatened with a law suit”.
In_pictures How close is Ms Mulroney to Ms Markle?
Mrs Mulroney met Ms Markle in Toronto, where the Duchess of Sussex lived while filming TV drama Suits.
Before meeting Prince Harry, Ms Markle was known to keep company with Mrs Mulroney and her husband Ben Mulroney, the son of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
The Canadian couple were called the city’s “most polished power couple” by Toronto Life magazine in 2017.
They were guests at Ms Markle’s wedding to Prince Harry in 2018. Their three children – Ivy and twins Brian and John – were among the bridesmaids and pageboys at the wedding.
Before Ms Markle became a member of the royal family, she regularly appeared in pictures with Mrs Mulroney on social media.