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Who is Jessica Mulroney? A timeline of the media personality’s fall from grace

Jessica Mulroney’s TV show cancelled after host called out on ‘textbook white privilege’
WATCH: Jessica Mulroney’s TV show cancelled after host called out on ‘textbook white privilege’

Jessica Mulroney is back in the headlines this week, and not for old news like her friendship with Meghan Markle or her work with Canadian designers.

Mulroney’s rise to fame has been peppered with TV appearances, hosting jobs and “secret” wardrobe consultant gigs with the likes of Markle and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. But after being called out by Black influencer and lifestyle blogger Sasha Exeter for “textbook white privilege,” the Canadian celebrity is seeing a swift fall from grace.

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Here’s a quick primer on who Mulroney is and her clash with Exeter.

READ MORE: Jessica Mulroney’s TV show cancelled after host called out on ‘textbook white privilege’

Who is Jessica Mulroney?

Mulroney, née Brownstein, is the daughter of designer Stephen Brownstein, a descendant of the founders of Browns Shoes. A Montreal native, Mulroney graduated from McGill University with a degree in industrial relations.

She said “I do” to Ben Mulroney, son of former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, on Oct. 30, 2008. Their wedding was a three-day affair, kicking off with a private ceremony, Thursday evening nuptials and a 350-guest reception the following day, Today’s Bride reported.

Jessica and Ben Mulroney attend Wanderluxe, benefiting Air Canada And SickKids Foundation, held at Rebel on April 12, 2018 in Toronto.
Jessica and Ben Mulroney attend Wanderluxe, benefiting Air Canada And SickKids Foundation, held at Rebel on April 12, 2018 in Toronto. George Pimentel/Getty Images for Sick Kids Hospital

Mulroney was tapped to help launch Kleinfeld at The Bay in 2014, with original plans to start a bridal lingerie business, WWD reported. She quickly realized her passion for bridal fashion and became the face of Kleinfeld Canada.

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She then became the spokesperson for The Bay’s Core Life brand, which launched in fall 2018. The brand spans apparel, footwear and accessories for men and women.

Befriending Suits star Meghan Markle

Mulroney and Markle first paired up when the former actor, then married to Trevor Engelson, moved to Toronto to film her hit paralegal show, Suits. Mulroney reportedly advised her on and off air in terms of fashion, but they became fast friends in 2011.

Before Markle shut down her social media, she shared plenty of photos of her European getaways with Mulroney.

Meghan Markle shared tons of travel photos with Jessica Mulroney on her now-defunct Instagram account.
Meghan Markle shared tons of travel photos with Jessica Mulroney on her now-defunct Instagram account. @meghanmarkle / Instagram

As Markle went on to date and eventually marry Prince Harry, it’s rumoured that Mulroney played host when they visited Toronto.

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After just a few months of dating, Markle and Harry attended a Halloween party at Toronto’s SoHo House, per ABC News. The rumoured Halloween date night, at which Harry reportedly wore a mask to hide his identity, was featured in Lifetime’s Harry and Meghan: A Royal Romance.

Work with Sophie Grégoire Trudeau

Though she’s never taken full credit for it, she was responsible for putting together some outfits for Grégoire Trudeau in November 2015, the year Justin Trudeau was sworn in as Canada’s 23rd prime minister.

Mulroney has helped various Canadian designers gain global attention. When Trudeau was elected, Mulroney sent Grégoire Trudeau a few items, like a Sentaler wrap coat, similar to the one Markle wore during her engagement announcement in November 2017, she told the Globe and Mail in 2016.

Incoming Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire, wearing a Sentaler coat, arrive with his cabinet before his swearing-in as Canada’s 23rd prime minister at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Nov. 4, 2015.
Incoming Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire, wearing a Sentaler coat, arrive with his cabinet before his swearing-in as Canada’s 23rd prime minister at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Nov. 4, 2015. Getty Images

Attends Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding

Mulroney and her three children — Ivy, 7, and nine-year-old twins John and Brian — all played roles in Markle and Harry’s royal wedding day in May 2018. Her sons most notably carried Markle’s train down the St. George’s Chapel aisle, while Ivy played flower girl with other royal-adjacent kids.

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READ MORE: The best moments from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding

It’s rumoured — and conceivable, given she’s a wedding planner — that Mulroney offered a helping hand in the planning of her friend’s big day, though it hasn’t been confirmed.

The Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan Markle’s friend, Canadian fashion stylist Jessica Mulroney (second left) holds flower girls’ hands as they arrive for the wedding ceremony of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.
The Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan Markle’s friend, Canadian fashion stylist Jessica Mulroney (second left) holds flower girls’ hands as they arrive for the wedding ceremony of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. Ben Stansall/PA Images via Getty Images

Sasha Exeter speaks out

As the Black Lives Matter movement picks up strength, many have taken to social media to share their own experiences with racism.

Exeter, a Black Canadian athlete and influencer, likened a recent incident involving Mulroney to an “Amy Cooper” experience in reference to the woman in New York who called the police on a Black man who was birdwatching.

Exeter, who is behind the lifestyle website So Sasha, said Mulroney took offence to Exeter’s recent call for people with large public followings to use their platforms to speak out against racism.

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“What happened next was a series of very problematic behaviour and antics that ultimately resulted in her sending me a threat in writing last Wednesday, June 3,” Exeter said in an Instagram post.

In an IGTV video, Exeter claimed that Mulroney took a public call to action in regard to fighting anti-Black racism as a personal attack. She accused Mulroney of sending her “a threat in writing.”

View this post on Instagram

I’ve been silent. Not anymore!⁣ ⁣ I’m used to being so transparent on this platform. I think it’s the main reason why most of you follow me. Today, I’m opening up about something that has been haunting me for the last week. I have felt like a complete fraud fighting for racial equality and using my voice openly here, while letting a white woman silence mine behind closed doors. In sharing this very personal story, I know that I am risking a lot. Opening myself up to criticism, bullying and potential ramifications with my job in this space. However, I must speak my truth. Enough is enough. Hopefully my voice will be heard by many and help change things for the next generation and for my daughter Maxwell… because I will be dammed if my child ever has to deal with this level of ignorance.

A post shared by SoSasha (@sashaexeter) on

Exeter said she was not calling Mulroney racist but said the media personality is “very well aware” of her wealth and power, along with the privilege she is afforded due to her race.

“Textbook white privilege, really, in my personal opinion,” Exeter said.

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Mulroney threatens a “liable” lawsuit

Mulroney, who has now lost thousands of Instagram followers, wrote a lengthy public apology shortly after Exeter’s IGTV video was posted, which, per screengrabs later shared by Exeter, was followed up with a threatening direct message.

“Liable (sic) suit,” Mulroney wrote. “Good luck.”

Sasha Exeter shared screengrabs of her interactions with Jessica Mulroney to her Instagram story on Thursday.
Sasha Exeter shared screengrabs of her interactions with Jessica Mulroney to her Instagram story on Thursday. @sashaexeter / Instagram

CTV cancels TV show I Do, Redo

On Thursday, CTV announced the removal of Mulroney’s reality show I Do, Redo from its airwaves, saying the recent conduct of the host conflicts with the broadcaster’s “commitment to diversity and equality.”

The 30-minute show, in which couples redo their wedding ceremonies, debuted this year. Content pertaining to the program appears to have been scrubbed from CTV’s website as of Friday morning.

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Mulroney spent the week during worldwide Black Lives Matter protests promoting her TV show.

Hudson’s Bay drops Mulroney

Late Thursday night, The Bay also released a statement announcing that Mulroney would no longer be the face of Kleinfeld Canada.

“Over the past week Hudson’s Bay has committed to do better,” the company said in a statement. “We are taking stock of how we do business, including who we work with, to ensure we are contributing to the change the world needs now.

“As we move forward, our leadership, associates and ambassadors must reflect our brand values of inclusivity, equality and respect for all. We will not tolerate anything less.”

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Mulroney apologizes following racism accusation

In a separate social media post earlier on Thursday, Mulroney said she and Exeter had a disagreement and that Exeter “rightfully” called her out. Mulroney then issued a statement regarding “the events that have transpired over the last few days.” She said it’s clear she has “work to do.”

“I realize more than ever how being a white, privileged woman has put me far ahead of so many, and in particular those in the Black community. And while I can’t change the past, I can do my part to do better in the future,” Mulroney said.

“I was wrong and for that I am truly sorry.”

— With files from Global News reporter Kerri Breen

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

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