Paging Lady Gaga!
A local news reporter got a lot more than she bargained for when on-air video of her responding to a bully went viral yesterday.
Jennifer Livingston is a reporter for La Crosse, Wisconsin’s CBS affiliate WKBT. Last week, she received an email from a viewer, writing, in part, “I was surprised 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…I leave you this note hoping you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthier lifestyle.”
Livingston’s husband is an anchor on the local nightly news there, and he posted the email on his public Facebook page, where it quickly inspired hundreds of comments. Yesterday, Livingston chose to respond on-air to the controversy.
“The truth is, I am overweight. You can call me fat,” she said. “But to the person who wrote that letter, do you think your cruel words are pointing out something I don’t see? You don’t know me. ”
She goes on to say that she wants everyone to learn something from this: “What really angers me about this is that there are children who don’t know better. The Internet has become a weapon….If you were at home and talking about the ‘fat news lady,’ guess what? Your children are probably going to go to school and call someone fat.”
Check out her full remarks below:
Livingston was also on the Today show this morning, where she reiterated that the reason she was going public with this was to draw attention to Internet bullying for children. Today host Savannah Guthrie read a statement from Kenneth Krause, the man who sent the original email. It read, in part, “Considering Jennifer’s fortuitous position in the community, I hope she will take advantage of a rare and golden opportunity to influence the heath and psychological well-being of Coulee region children by transforming herself for all of her viewers to see over the next year, and, to that end, I would be absolutely pleased to offer Jennifer any advice to support she would be willing to accept.”
He took out the name calling, but I’m going to go ahead and say that Krause’s “concern” is more offensive than his original email. Livingston kindly pointed out that the man who emailed her probably meant well, but “his approach was totally inappropriate.” She also stated that as a mom she wants her three daughters – whom she talks to about bullying – to see her standing up for herself.