Global News anchor Leslie Roberts has resigned from the network he called home for 15 years following an investigation into his undisclosed ties to a public-relations firm.
Last week, Global suspended Mr. Roberts after it was revealed that he is a part owner of BuzzPR, a company whose clients he occasionally interviewed on his programs.
Late Thursday, Global announced that Mr. Roberts “has resigned, effective immediately” as anchor and executive editor of Toronto News Hour and co-host of The Morning Show.
”In light of the findings of an internal investigation, conducted on the basis of our Business Conduct Standards and the Global News Journalistic Principles and Practices, Global News is satisfied with today’s outcome,” the network said in a statement.
A Global spokesperson declined to comment further.
In his own statement, released by the network, Mr. Roberts said he regrets “the circumstances, specifically a failure to disclose information, which led to this outcome.” Efforts to reach the former anchor were not successful.
Losing Mr. Roberts, who has been the face of Global’s Toronto news coverage and a nationally watched fixture on The Morning Show, deals a competitive blow to Global. News Hour has recently edged out the competing CityNews broadcast, averaging 118,000 viewers last fall, but still trails CTV’s evening newscast.
Global said it “first learned” of Mr. Roberts’s connection to BuzzPR on Jan. 7, following inquiries by the Toronto Star.
Several video clips of programs aired earlier show Mr. Roberts interviewing clients of the PR firm in which he held an “equity” stake, according to The Star, on Global programs. In one video posted to YouTube, Mr. Roberts interviewed Sandra Zisckind of personal injury law firm Diamond and Diamond, then a BuzzPR client, on News Hour. Another video shows a six-minute segment on The Morning Show in which he and his colleagues host public speaker Jacquie Somerville, who was also represented by BuzzPR.
In another instance, Mr. Roberts promoted a coupon app built by one of the firm’s clients.
As Mr. Roberts departed, Global News sought to reassure viewers that his conduct was an aberration.
”Global News remains committed to balanced and ethical journalism produced in the public’s interest,” the network’s statement said.Report Typo/Error