Last week, Jennifer Livingston, a LaCrosse, Wisconsin TV news anchor who works at CBS affiliate WKBT received a nasty email from a viewer, calling her weight into question. This week, the author of that email has apologized for his act.
Her husband and fellow news anchor Mike Thompson posted the text to the Facebook page for “WKBT News 8 This Morning.”
“I was surprised indeed to witness that your physical condition hasn’t improved for many years,” wrote the viewer, who said Livingstonwas not a “suitable example” for young girls. “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 addressed her bully on-air, prefacing her message by saying that she has received words of support from “hundreds” of people and that the response has been “truly inspiring.”
“The truth is, I am overweight,” she said. “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… so you know nothing about me but what you see on the outside and I am much more than a number on a scale.”
Livingston continued, “That man’s words mean nothing to me, but really angers me about this is 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.”
She said that bullying scared her as the mother of three daughters. “If you are at home and you are talking about the fat newslady, guess what?” she said. “Your children are probably going to go to school and call someone fat.”
Livingston thanked the viewers, friends and colleagues who have stood up for her, and ended with these words:
“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.”
See the video below:
With the onslaught of outrage from viewers, the author in question responded. Kenneth Krause has since backed down from his statement, after sending it launched a public discussion of what many call “fat shaming.”
“If she is offended, I truly apologize to Jennifer,” Krause told ABC News. “That’s the last thing I ever wanted to do.”
Krause has also learned that Livingstonhas a thyroid condition that makes it hard for her to lose weight, despite being a triathlete. Ironically, Krause admitted that he was also obese once — as a child. “I’ve been fighting all my life,” he said about struggling with his weight.
When you think of a bully, you think of someone in the school yard, imposing his or her will on a fellow student. The internet has brought “bullying” to a new level, where you can bring your hatred and animosity towards someone without, fear of reprisal anonymously. It’s a cowardly way of showing your feelings.
If anything can be learned about this, it would be to think before pressing the enter key when you’re sending a nasty email like the one Kenneth Krause sent. Once you do, you open up a huge can of worms that you won’t be able to put back.