Give credit to La Crosse, Wisconsin, anchor Jennifer Livingston for taking an ugly email criticizing her for her weight and turning it around to make a positive statement about weight and bullying.
Livingston, an anchor at WKBT, responded directly to an email she received from a viewer complaining about her weight.
“I was surprised indeed to witness that your physical condition has not improved for many years,” the email reads. “Surely 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.”
Her response was a classic as reported by TV Spy and ran for a full four minutes (below):
“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?”
“You don’t know me. You are not a friend of mine. You are not a part of my family. And you have admitted that you don’t watch this show. So you know nothing about me but what you see on the outside. And I am much more than a number on the scale.”
Livingston went on to say that October is National Bullying Month, and that she hopes her response to the email will serve to raise awareness of bullying behavior, which is “passed down from people like the man who wrote me that email.”
“If you are at home and talking about the fat news lady, guess what? Your children are probably going to go to school and call someone fat,” Livingston said. Livingston thanked friends, family and colleagues, saying, “I will never be able to thank you enough for your words of support, and for taking a stand against this bully. We are better than that email. We are better than the bullies that will try to take us down.”
It should be noted that while many people seem to be responding positively to Livingston’s response, others felt responding personally and so strongly to an anonymous emailer was a bit over the top. Many people on the news side of the TV business also questioned giving her 4 minutes of air time for her personal response was too much.