LA CROSSE, Wisc. — A rare on-camera opinion by a television anchor in Wisconsin about her weight is beginning to spark a discussion at the national level.
Jennifer Livingston works at WKBT in La Crosse, Wisc.
She said she recently received an email from a viewer who told her she isn’t “a suitable example for this community’s young people, girls in particular”
This is because, the viewer wrote, Livingston is too fat.
Livingston issued a 4-minute, 21-second response to that viewer on a live newscast.
“If you are at home and you are talking about the fat news lady, guess what? Your children are probably going to go to school and call someone fat,” Livingston said. “We need to teach our children to be kind, not critical. And we need to do that by example.”
The email sent to Livingston was posted by her husband, WKBT evening news co-anchor Mike Thompson, on the station’s Facebook page. Here is how it read:
It’s unusual that I see your morning show, but I did so for a very short time today. I was surprised indeed to witness that your physical condition hasn’t improved for many years.
Sure you don’t consider yourself a suitable example for this community’s young people, girls in particular. Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain. I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.
Livingston’s response to that email continued in her on-air response.
“The truth is, I am overweight,” Livingston said. “You can call me fat and yes, even obese on a doctor’s chart. But to the person who wrote me that letter, do you think I don’t know that? That your cruel words are pointing out something that I don’t see?”
Livingston said the email is a form of adult bullying.
With October being Anti-Bullying month, she hopes that her opinion will teach parents that words and emails can be very hurtful and influential to children.
Thanks to KDVR’s Will C. Holden for this story.