Global Television news anchor Leslie Roberts was suspended indefinitely amid an ongoing investigation into his “journalistic integrity.” Roberts is accused of using the Morning Show and News Hour programs to promote clients for a PR firm — which he partially owns.
In addition to hosting two programs, Leslie Roberts is Global News’ executive director. Spokesperson Rishma Govani confirmed Roberts will remain suspended “indefinitely” while the network “conduct[s] a full investigation into” the allegations.
In an official statement, Govani further explained that Global News “take[s] matters of journalistic integrity very seriously.”
As reported by The Star, Roberts has vehemently denied the allegations. However, he said he is willing to resign from BuzzPR to prevent further controversy.
Leslie Roberts’ suspension was the result of an investigation conducted by The Star. During their investigation, reporters uncovered numerous incidents where Roberts interviewed clients from his PR firm, and promoted their products while hosting Global News programs.
Roberts’ is further accused of using his position as executive editor to schedule his clients as special guests. Although he admits featuring clients from his PR firm on Global News television programs, Roberts denies a conflict of interest.
“They did not pay me to get on TV. When I sit on the anchor desk I am in journalist mode and nothing comes between me and a story… At no point have I ever, ever crossed the line.”
Interestingly, BuzzPR specifically mentions their “strong relationships with select media personnel” on their website.
“The success of our media coverage campaigns in Toronto is the result of our strong relationships with select media personnel… Our Media Coverage Toronto services include… Celebrity and guest speaker appearances/brand ambassadors… “
BuzzPR clients who were interviewed or mentioned by Leslie Roberts during Global News programs include the Diamond and Diamond law firm, Ritchies Auctioneers, life coach Jacquie Somerville, and Checkout 51.
As reported by ODSSF, Roberts has worked in the field of journalism for more than three decades. A fourth-generation journalist, he got his first big break in the newsroom at Montreal’s CKGM Radio.
Throughout his career, Roberts hosted television programs in Canada and the United States. However, he settled in Canada in 2000 when he became executive director of Global News.
Leslie Roberts has received numerous awards for excellence in journalism, including the Man of the Year Consumers Choice Award, Canada’s Best Newscast award, and the Ontario Association of Broadcaster Community Award. In 2013, Roberts and his colleagues were honored with an award for Best Newscast during the Canadian Screen Awards.
Although he has certainly enjoyed a successful career, Leslie Roberts is now tasked with defending his integrity as a journalist and his position with the television station.
[Image via Dolcemag]