A US TV news reporter has hit back against a viewer who emailed in to suggest that her “obesity” was setting a bad example to children.
Wisconsin television anchorwoman Jennifer Livingston took to the airways to respond to the man who sent the email in a four minute address on WKBT-T.
She accused him of bullying and that his behaviour was all too typical in this “day and age” with the proliferation of social media.
In his message to the presenter, the viewer said her “physical condition hadn’t improved for years” and that he hoped that she didn’t consider herself a suitable example for young people, especially girls.
Livingston says she has received over 1000 messages of support on her Facebook page and countless emails from viewers who were touched by her message.
The man who wrote the email, Kenneth Krause, told The Associated Press in an interview that his emails had nothing to do with bullying.
“It’s not what this one particular man said to me,” the 37-year-old presenter said. “It’s the reaction that what I am saying back to him and bullies everywhere is impacting me. I am just shocked right now that the words of one journalist in small La Crosse, Wisconsin, can make such a loud roar.”
In his initial email, Krause wrote that “obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make,” then urged Livingston to “reconsider your responsibility to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.” They exchanged a few emails, but Livingston said he wouldn’t back down from his opinion that she was a bad role model. Krause said he no longer had the emails.
In her television response, Livingston acknowledged she was overweight but said the man’s words were cruel. Livingston said she could brush off such comments but worried about children who didn’t know how to do the same.
“To all of the children out there who feel lost, who are struggling with your weight, with the colour 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,” she said on the air.
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