Quick hit: Wisconsin news anchor responds to fat shaming email on air

Bravo. Livingston received a letter from a viewer complaining about her weight and she responded directly on air.

A hearty Tuesday Feminist Fuck Yeah for Jennifer Livingston!

If you could add a transcript to the comments I will be forever in your debt.

Join the Conversation

  • http://feministing.com/members/dyfrgi/ Michael Leuchtenburg

    OK! Transcript, as requested. May not be typo-free, but I did check it.

    I want to take a moment to address a situation that has become a talking point
    in this community over the past weekend especially on facebook that centers
    around me.

    On Friday I received the following email from a Lacross man with the subject
    line “Community Responsibility” and it reads as follows

    Hi Jennifer,

    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. 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. I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your
    responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy
    lifestyle.

    Now, those of us in the media, we get a healthy dose of critiques from our
    viewers throughout the year and we realize it comes with having a job in the
    public eye. But this email was more than that. While I tried my best to laugh
    off this very hurtful attack on my appearance, my colleagues could not do the
    same, especially my husband our six and ten anchor Mike Thompson. Mike posted
    this email on his WKBT facebook page and what happened next has been truly
    inspiring. Hundreds and hundreds of people have taken the time out of their day
    to not only lift my spirits but take a stand that attacks like this are not
    okay and we’re going to have more on that in just a second, but first, the
    truth is, I am overweight. You could 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? 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 a scale.

    And here is where I want all of us to learn something from this. If you didn’t
    already know, October is National Anti-Bullying Month, and this is a problem
    that is growing every day in our schools and on the internet. It is a major
    issue in the lives of young people today and as the mother of three young girls
    it scares me to death. Now I am a grown women and luckily for me I have a very
    thick skin, literally, as that email pointed out, and otherwise. And that man’s
    words mean nothing to me. But what really angers me is there are children who
    don’t know better. Who get emails, as critical as the one I received or in many
    cases even worse, each and every day. The internet has become a weapon. Our
    schools have become a battleground. And this behavior is learned. It is passed
    down from people like the man who wrote me that email.

    If you are at home and you are talking about the fat newslady guess what. Your
    children are probably going to go to school and call someone fat. We need to
    teach our children to be kind, not critical, and we need to do that by example.
    So many of you have come to my defense over the past 4 days I am literally
    overwhelmed by your words.

    To my colleagues and my friends from today and years ago, my family, my amazing
    husband, and so many of you out there that I will probably never have the
    opportunity to meet, I will never be able to thank you enough for your words of
    support. And we are taking a stand against this bully. We are better than that
    email. We are better than the bullies that would try to take us down. And I
    leave you with this. To all of the children out there who feel lost, who are
    struggling with your weight, with the color of your skin, your sexual
    preference, your disability, even the acne on your face. Listen to me right
    now. Do not let your self-worth be defined by bullies. Learn from my experience
    that the cruel words of one are nothing compared to the shouts of many.

    We’ll be right back.

  • http://feministing.com/members/dyfrgi/ Michael Leuchtenburg

    Okay! Transcript as requested. May not be typo-free, but I did check it.

    I want to take a moment to address a situation that has become a talking point in this community over the past weekend especially on facebook that centers around me.

    On Friday I received the following email from a Lacross man with the subject line “Community Responsibility” and it reads as follows

    Hi Jennifer,

    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. 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. I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.

    Now, those of us in the media, we get a healthy dose of critiques from our viewers throughout the year and we realize it comes with having a job in the public eye. But this email was more than that. While I tried my best to laugh off this very hurtful attack on my appearance, my colleagues could not do the same, especially my husband our six and ten anchor Mike Thompson. Mike posted this email on his WKBT facebook page and what happened next has been truly inspiring. Hundreds and hundreds of people have taken the time out of their day to not only lift my spirits but take a stand that attacks like this are not okay and we’re going to have more on that in just a second, but first, the truth is, I am overweight. You could 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? 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 a scale.

    And here is where I want all of us to learn something from this. If you didn’t already know, October is National Anti-Bullying Month, and this is a problem that is growing every day in our schools and on the internet. It is a major issue in the lives of young people today and as the mother of three young girls it scares me to death. Now I am a grown women and luckily for me I have a very thick skin, literally, as that email pointed out, and otherwise. And that man’s words mean nothing to me. But what really angers me is there are children who don’t know better. Who get emails, as critical as the one I received or in many cases even worse, each and every day. The internet has become a weapon. Our schools have become a battleground. And this behavior is learned. It is passed down from people like the man who wrote me that email.

    If you are at home and you are talking about the fat newslady guess what. Your children are probably going to go to school and call someone fat. We need to teach our children to be kind, not critical, and we need to do that by example. So many of you have come to my defense over the past 4 days I am literally overwhelmed by your words.

    To my colleagues and my friends from today and years ago, my family, my amazing husband, and so many of you out there that I will probably never have the opportunity to meet, I will never be able to thank you enough for your words of support. And we are taking a stand against this bully. We are better than that email. We are better than the bullies that would try to take us down. And I leave you with this. To all of the children out there who feel lost, who are struggling with your weight, with the color of your skin, your sexual preference, your disability, even the acne on your face. Listen to me right now. Do not let your self-worth be defined by bullies. Learn from my experience that the cruel words of one are nothing compared to the shouts of many.

    We’ll be right back.

  • http://feministing.com/members/skoelle/ Spencer Koelle

    Excellent.

    It’s awesome to see her telling this concern-troll off. It’s awful to hear the “but you are saying being fat is okay which is a bad message for youth especially for GIRLS, because fat men feeling okay is just kinda annoying but fat women feeling okay is DANGEROUS” gremplork couched in such “reasonable” language.
    It’s most awesome that she is an authority figure, telling off an insidious concern troll, to lots of viewers, especially because this kind of passive-aggressive “promoting irresponsible lifestyles” gremplork is the easiest to believe an internalize compared with the obvious “ew fatty” stuff. She is getting a loud, definite message that this is a form of oppression, and not “concern”, and not acceptable.

    I needed to see something like this.