WATCH: Wisconsin News Anchor Calls Out Bully—And Blows Us Away

Jennifer Livingston, a news anchor on WKBT in Lacrosse, WI, took a moment in today’s newscast to address a viewer who sent her an email—one criticizing her weight. But this unnamed correspondent didn’t just attack Livingston for being, as she says, “fat.” He assailed her for setting a bad example for young people facing an obesity epidemic.

Livingston’s calm but forceful reply, above, is one of the best addresses we’ve heard on the subject of bullying—both on its devastating effects and the importance of rising above it. She may be talking about calling some kid at school “fat,” but you could easily—as Livingston herself does—be talking about a boy who gets called “fag” or a girl who gets called “she-male.”

What Jennifer Livingston delivers is not an It Gets Better speech—she is speaking to the here and now. And she is showing by example how it’s possible to look around at the people who really matter to you and know that “the cruel words of one are nothing compared to the shouts of many.”

Do we smell a local Emmy?

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  • ryguy86

    Created an account to respond to this. This woman is so brave. I WISH Connecticut had role models like her for kids. She is so very inspiring.

  • ryguy86

    @ryguy86: and I wish that I had a role model like that when I was a kid.

  • yaoming

    Nice response, but she is fat and that is unhealthy and she can do something about it… unlike what she referred to as my “sexual preference”.

  • Red Meat

    I smell a promotion.

  • the other Greg

    And after that the station went to a commercial for Wendy’s “Baconator.” Sure, there are a lot of factors increasing childhood obesity, and yet…

    The e-mail does not use the word “fat.” The e-mail is actually quite polite throughout. There is nothing “cruel” about it. The writer wonders why she (apparently) hasn’t tried to do anything about her weight for many years. Maybe the writer is guessing wrong and she’s tried without success. She doesn’t say that. Instead she goes off on a self-righteous tirade about how awful it all is. She says it “scares me to death [!] for my kids.” One gets the impression she will then take the kids out for Baconators to celebrate her victory over the supposed bullies.

    If this is “bullying,” this stretches the meaning of “bullying” beyond any usefulness.

  • marc sfe

    @yaoming: Are you overweight? Do you how DIFFICULT it is for some people to lose weight? Do NOT judge a person strictly by what you see. You have no idea what she may have done or may be doing to lose weight so do NOT judge. I have a friends who battles her weight every single day of her life – its not easy and it’s fucking hard. So until you’ve walked a mile or two in this woman’s shoes, do NOT judge her.

  • marc sfe

    @the other Greg: bullying can be subtle or it can be overt I congratulate her on her stance and what she said. I guess that’s what comes when one reaches a certain age and stage in life; which I have.

  • MizuRyuu

    @yaoming: You are assuming it is something that her size is something she has control over. You don’t know her. For all you know, she may have a medical condition that made it impossible to lose weight. I always believe it is best not to judge someone since I don’t know everyone’s situation.

  • the other Greg

    @marc sfe: That would be a great response, in fact I’d have expected a response like that from her but does the news anchor SAY any of that? No.

  • stadacona

    I dislike her for comparing her weakness with food to unchangeable sexual orientation. Why can’t truly flawed people accept criticism any more? This fat chick is a poor role model. She needs to step away from the Teleprompter, put down the KFC, and get on the stair master. The email wasn’t rude. She flipped out because the truth hurt. Lose some weight, tubby. Body fat can be changed.

  • miniskull

    @stadacona, @yaoming: How am I not surprised to see such nasty comments from a gay website? You two are the sick ones, mentally. THIS WOMAN IS NOT FAT. And no one has the right to say anything about her appearance. You don’t have the right to judge her body, her skin, her hair because it’s not your business. You don’t know this woman. You don’t know if she’s not dieting or she has metabolism issues. And most importantly: what does it matter if she’s a bit overweight? She has gut, confidence and good morality. I’d rather be in room with 10 of her than being with any of you two. I swear to God, if I knew you two personally, I would slap the dumb out of you.

  • Cee

    I think America is too supportive of obesity and unhealthy eating habits. While I wouldn’t waste my time typing an e-mail to a news anchor about their weight I think that what the man wrote to her was true. The truth often hurts. I don’t see this man as a bully. The e-mail was well written. It wasn’t vulgar. It wasn’t nasty. It was very “matter of fact” IMO. Maybe he’s a fan that was hoping maybe she would have lost weight by now and is disappointed in her. Maybe he thought the letter would encourage her to lose weight and get healthy. Who knows? It wasn’t that bad at all IMO. She says she has a thick skin, but not really. Not if she felt the need to address the situation on air. It obviously got to her. She probably cried about it. All the people who she says are showing support are really just enablers.

  • jeff4justice

    Wow, the replies show just how many of my fellow LGBTs can be assholes despite being a persecuted minority.

    You’re no better than Republicans who try to shame people in poverty instead of helping them.

    To each of you making the comments to the effect that she should lose weight, you are NOT in her shoes?

    If you’re all that, you’d certainly be living a life greater than the need to post judgmental comments online.

    Why aren’t you as successful as Oprah or Donald Trump? How about everyone has different struggles, baggage, emotional thresholds, and physical thresholds.

    Kiss a fat ass you lowly self-righteous fuckers.

    This lady is amazing!

  • Lyceius

    @stadacona: she did not compare it at all. At the end she spoke about bullying in general and included several of the most popular ways people try to hurt others with their words. Yet you seem to want to do nothing more than to continue to say hurtful things about a strong woman who is speaking out against people on the Internet or otherwise that want nothing more than to hurt others. People like yourself as you have proven are no better than the person who wrote that email.

  • Chibby100

    While I agree that the email was insensitive and if it had to, the matters of her weight should have been addressed by the family. Yet I find it slightly offensive that she compares her weight problem to something that is out of someone’s control such as a person’s race, sexual preference, disability, etc. I know that for some losing weight can be tough but the matter is that it’s more of a public image problem than something your born with. I don’t know her life story, her eating habits or if she does any physical activity. But she aired this issue to the public to be condoned as something that is out of someone’s reach and like minorities, obese people goes through the same issues and form of persecution. She has made herself into role model and this teaches a bad lesson in health to the kids. I respect that people should be kinder and more respectful to those with weight issues. But obesity should not be condoned as something that is considered normal and should be overlooked, especially for kids growing up in unhealthy environments.

  • yaoming

    Actually, it is my business… maybe not in her individual case, but I work in the insurance business and the first thing I have to ask every one after his or her name and date of birth is: “What is your height and weight?” If you’re female, 5′ 10″ and you weigh more than 188 pounds, you’re not going to be in the best underwriting class. Why not? Because insurance companies have been in this business a long time and they know that that isn’t healthy and you represent a greater mortality risk than someone who weighs less than that.

  • miniskull

    @yaoming: Oh my god, the nerve and delusion you have to come back and defend your acid mouth. LOOK, you are not her doctor, her trainer, or even her insurance writer to even have a talk about how she looks and lives her life. You know nothing about her health, not every woman whose BMI isn’t ideal are not in good shape. YOU REALLY DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO TALK ABOUT ANYONE’S APPEARANCE. IT’S THEIR CHOICE TO DO WHATEVER THE HELL THEY WANT TO DO WITH THEMSELVES. GOT IT? People from miserable glass house shouldn’t throw rock at people. So shut the hell up.

  • gppm1103

    @yaoming: @yaoming: That is just a big red herring. Does your insurance company refuse to write insurance for a woman who is tall and weighs 90 lbs?

    First, she is heavy but she is not that heavy. Of course she could lose a few pounds…who of us couldn’t?

    Her weight is none of the email writer’s business. And by the way, where is his picture? Is he so perfect he can talk about someone else about being a role model?

    Until you bitches are perfect and know the full story you need to shut up.

    She IS a role model.

  • Gigi Gee

    @yaoming: I knew there’d be a response like yours. Typical. It seems that you’re quite lucky. What’s it like to be perfect? Oh wait…you’re concerned about her weight because you’re in the insurance business. That makes perfect sense. You’re an insensitive douche and a parasitic blood sucker. See how that works? I don’t know anything about you yet I made a sweeping generalization as to your character and moral fortitude. It’s as easy as that.

  • the other Greg

    @miniskull: Get a grip. Everyone in her city can comment on her appearance because she’s employed as a fucking TV STAR. Did you miss that part? And now we can all comment on it because that’s what she wants – she wanted to be famous and she got her wish, now she’s famous for being “fat” (her word) and proud of it.

    @jeff4justice: “Persecuted minority”? Judging from her conduct here, it seems what she really wants is for fat people to become a majority so they can bully everyone else. (I’ve been to Wisconsin and suspect the “tipping point” there is not far off!) The famous person is the one being the bully here, to someone not in the public domain who was trying to be helpful.

    The email writer was addressing the issue of childhood obesity and her supposedly being a role model “especially for girls.” Well we could make the case that’s kind of silly; I doubt many kids (esp. girls) sit around breathlessly watching the local TV news. But sit around breathlessly, they do.

    Before anyone jumps to conclusions about me: I was a fat kid, usually (between episodes of skyrocketing verticality); I was bullied and physically assaulted more often for being fat than for being gay; I’m not fat as an adult but yeah, have the body type (because of the childhood obesity effects which unfortunately are lifelong) where I really need to be careful. It takes effort!

    Personally I think the anchor doesn’t look all THAT overweight, she’s a pleasant-looking plumpish woman and I think it’s great if a TV station has some non-model types for ordinary folks to relate to. But again I’ll stress the point that the email writer never even uses the word “fat.” The anchor is the one calling herself “fat”; indeed she even declares she is “obese”! She doesn’t say whether she exercises at all, or at what, or is careful what she eats, or is going out for cheeseburgers after the show, or anything about that.

    For her to call this email “bullying” is offensive. She’s the bully. A fat, hypocritical bully who is teaching her kids to be fat and be bullies.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    @the other Greg:

    For her to call this email “bullying” is offensive. She’s the bully. A fat, hypocritical bully who is teaching her kids to be fat and be bullies.

    So says the bully.

    Polish your glass your house, and stop posting on Queerty, Greg. You have nothing of any relevance to add to this debate.

  • the other Greg

    @Mr. Enemabag Jones: I’m not on TV and I’m not a hypocrite. And don’t post on Queerty when you need to change your enemabag, Mr. Jones? :)

    As others here have pointed out, for her to hitch her overloaded wagon to the problems of anti-GAY bullying is fucking offensive. Being gay is something we don’t have any control over. Being a fat, self-righteous, hypocritical bully is something she DOES have control over, in several ways.

  • Gotjee

    @the other Greg: I have found it to be my duty to call out trolls in the comments section of Queerty, so with the holy might that has been bestowed upon me to unearth and banish the shady scum of the internet’s underbelly, I declare; BEGONE foul creature, your words have no power here. Your trollish ways, hypocritical parlay and incantations of buffoonish ignorance have no effect upon those of us that are of higher intellect.

    And if you’re truly aware of the idiotic words you’re stringing together to support your uninformed opinions (Oh I was a fat kid, I am best placed out of all you morons to comprehend the nuances of this woman’s plight NOT), instead of digging yourself deeper with every reply, have a time-out, take a nap, or go for a walk and when your mind is cleared, reassess your values and the point you’re trying to defend. As one commenter already pointed out, it isn’t because the guy didn’t explicitly use the word “fat” that it isn’t bullying. The point is that he personally attacked her appearance without even knowing her or her story personally, he had no business in doing so and it wasn’t warranted. There are many reasons for people to struggle with their weight and for some people it’s a life-long struggle. And she didn’t say if or how she was doing anything about it because it wasn’t any of his fucking business.

    Instead of being a bullish prick, you might want to think about the positive impact her message might have on the larger field of bullying in general, and she is absolutely right when she says it’s transmitted by the carelessness and senselessness of the parents unto the kids. Of course bodytype and weight are incomparable to your sexual orientation, but what many people fail to grasp is that it’s not about that, it’s about putting a stop to the persecution of others based on the belittlement and ridicule of aspects of their appearance or attributes that do not pertain in any fundamental way to their personality, or even if they do, should not be basis for any kind of negativity or ostracism anyway.

    And lastly, calling her a bully for calling out such attacks as she and others have to face on a regular basis, from anonymous sources (easy, isn’t it, to write your vicious little jabs and jibes like that in a letter, just to make someone feel like shit, or because you feel it is your place to judge someone based on nothing at all) is the most imbecilic thing I have read on the internet today, and I’ve spent the last twenty minutes on Reddit, so that’s saying something. How is defending yourself against baseless, shallow accusations, and spreading the message to sensibilize others, possibly considered bullying?

    So. With such flaws in your logic and badly supported arguments, I can only assume that you are, indeed, a troll.

    Good day!

  • the other Greg

    @Gotjee: “The point is that he personally attacked her appearance without even knowing her or her story personally…” He didn’t “attack” anything; he was polite; he was pretty clearly inviting her to explain what her story re: diet, exercise etc. actually IS or isn’t. Not only did she refuse to say what it is, she went ballistic and pompously pretended the polite email was “bullying.”

    “he had no business in doing so…” Again, SHE’S A FUCKING TV STAR. Does she really expect any criticism of her appearance (!) to fall under the rubric of “bullying”?

    I usually like Dan Avery’s posts (I may be in the minority there, ha ha), but I really have to wonder what possessed him to post this one so gushingly, in such a schoolgirl manner. Is Dan a lifelong skinny person who just doesn’t get how deeply offensive this one is in terms of anti-gay bullying?

  • Gotjee

    @the other Greg: I’m really sorry, but you do not seem to understand this; the author of that letter was NOT trying to do ANY of the things you state in your reply, and it seems to be difficult to somehow get it across to you that “politeness” is in no shape or form an indicator of the user’s INTENT, failing to understand that makes me wonder if you are ever a very good recipient of sarcastic humor or irony, or ANY of those human interactions which do not involve first-degree sincerity and unambiguous interaction.

    And even ceding to your argument supposing his intent was to politely invite her to explain her weight story/history, or invite her to look after herself, take care of her grotesque appearance (which is what he barely inches away from saying explicitly) because it is a bad example (unlike, you know, the millions upon millions of campaigns and ads and the general culture celebrating the exact opposite of her bodytype, which is even more nefarious and poisonous, and a hazard to public health); IT IS JUST NOT DONE. Can you get that through your noggin somehow? It is a personal attack bordering on hate speech, he has no business assuming all kinds of things about her and then attacking her (implicitly, for if you STILL had a hard time understanding that) or judging her like that.

    Lastly, where does she go ballistic in that video? Where does she raise her voice, lose control of her emotions, incite to violence/hate/retaliation? Does she sic an angry mob on him? No, she voices her displeasure in no uncertain terms but with a reasonable voice and chooses her words carefully but effectively.



    You DID watch the clip, didn’t you?

  • redspyder

    The guy made some very legitimate points as to why she should change her life around. He doesn’t say that her looks are the problem, but does focus on the health issues and the way it affects your life, on both a physical and emotional level. She also works in an industry that is well noted for making staffing decisions based upon physical characteristics.

    Just because she has an emotional reaction to something that is both true and job relevant (by their standards, not mine), it does not make this bullying. Everytime someone says something that you don’t like, it doesn’t mean you have been bullied.

  • the other Greg

    @Gotjee: Yes, yes, yes – I’ve seen the mawkish, cloying, nauseating, hypocritical, disingenuous clip several times, each time with increasing disbelief. If I watch it one more time I may develop bulimia.

    The email is not a “personal attack.” As they say in law, truth is an absolute defense. In fact, she’s making a personal attack on the writer. AND she’s disingenuously pretending it’s “cruel” and about “bullying.” The only one engaging in “hate speech” is her.

    The email writer’s point is that she is somehow a “role model” for children, and I think that’s ridiculous. I hope she agrees with me on that. (But apparently she’s too busy bragging about being fat.) The real role models in childhood obesity are McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, television, parents and grandparents who never “cook” without a microwave, computer games, cutbacks in PE classes and lack of exercise in general.

  • Gotjee

    @redspyder: I’ll TL;DR my previous comments to Greg in a way that you will understand them, since it doesn’t seem you took the time to read them; No, you fuckwit, you are wrong.

    Also, the “staff decisions” as you put it, seem to have kept her for the job for at least a couple of years despite her weight, so your argument is invalid.

    And, yet AGAIN; the dude has no business criticizing her, and the intricacies underlying this statement are to be found in my previous comments :)

  • RLS

    Unsurprising that a group of gay guys would resort to calling this woman fat. It’s no wonder why our community has such a problem with eating disorders and unhealthy body image. I’ve struggled with my weight for a long time. I work out 5x a week and have a very healthy, fit, and muscular but “beefy” frame. I’m cool with it because I know I’m healthy and I’m comfortable with my body. We let ourselves be brainwashed by this ideal of 6 pack abs, etc, etc that are attainable by a very small segment of the population.

    Shame on all you jerks that are name calling this woman. You’re truly no better than the people that I bet have called most of you “fag” one time or another.

  • the other Greg

    I particularly dislike how she pretends he can’t say anything like that because he doesn’t know her personally. It’s obvious that if a friend, family member, co-worker, or even her doctor said anything like that, she’d get angry and cut them out of her life. Sometimes ONLY a stranger can shake someone out of denial.

    @redspyder: Great point! “He doesn’t say that her looks are the problem, but does focus on the health issues.”

  • redspyder

    By the way – “the intricacies underlying this statement are to be found in my previous comments”? lol

    You mean the ones where you attribute things to the email writer that he never said?

    “And even ceding to your argument supposing his intent was to politely invite her to explain her weight story/history, or invite her to look after herself, take care of her grotesque appearance (which is what he barely inches away from saying explicitly)”

    Your opinion and imaginations of what he actually said are irrelevant.

    And a further fyi – just because her television station kept her on because of her weight it doesn’t negate the fact that in that industry, physical characteristics are part of staffing decisions. Therefore, comments on those characteristics – while they may not be appreciated – are also relevant.

  • Gotjee

    @redspyder: Sorry, I’m having a hard time understanding you over your roaring inadequacy at comprehending certain facts. But I get when I’m fighting a lost cause (or trolls, I’m still not quite sure), so instead of wasting internet space with more arguments (pearls before swines, as they say), I’ll just content myself with the knowledge that being this backwards must make your lives really difficult. And hey, at least I tried :)

  • redspyder

    @Gotjee: For someone who is so opposed bullying, you seem to do a lot of it with your name calling and personal attacks.

  • Gotjee

    @redspyder: I could have worded myself completely differently and more reasonably, and still have been as insulting as I was (kind of like that infamous email), and I must admit I rarely let it get the better of myself like that. But I wouldn’t call it bullying when I’m rightfully calling you out on your ignorance and thickheadedness, which are clearly apparent in your comments. This is a comments section on a blog where there’s going to be a back-and-forth of a couple of arguments, if you already feel violated by that, it makes no sense to me why you’d then be calling out this woman for being ‘oversensitive’…

    Also, when people make such contrarian assumptions like both of you did, I can’t help but think I’m dealing with internet trolls and, well… Trolls exist purely to spite, so I don’t really care about their feelings.

  • Ann Mason

    We’ve heard the health arguments against obesity, and the situation is complicated enough that we should never oversimplify another person’s overweight condition by sending an e-mail telling her to slim down.

    The e-mail in question might qualify as bullying, and at the very least it’s insensitive.

    That said, we should also use our media street smarts and consider the possibility that this news anchor’s statement was approved ahead of time by the station’s management, and was encouraged for its ratings potential.

    We can continue taking apart this situation and read whatever we want into it. Personally, I’m cynical toward broadcast journalism, and suspect this is just one more attempt to exploit the human condition. It calls attention to the newscast, and defeats the purpose of journalistic standards.

    Argue the specifics all you want, but be reasonable enough to call the segment commentary and not a news report. Should it have been part of the newscast? I don’t think so.

  • Dumdum

    Come on people! Stuff happens.When I was young I was hot. Had a six pack.You have to work, can’t go to the gym, can’t keep it going. It’s not easy. Have you ever heard of genes? The hot guys that you are all jacking off to have them. GENE POOL BIG NOW. MANY PEOPLE. NOT PERFECT. Get over it til the asteroid hits, or we are all nuked into oblivion. She is beautiful. Most of us have something worth saving. Lets go with that OK?

  • Carlos

    I don’t think the email pointing out she’s overweight is in fact bullying, it’s how it implies that she’s a bad person as a result, setting a bad example for young people that is. It’s an unnecessary personal attack.

    Are there a lot of young people watching the 6 o’clock news and emulating news anchors? Are they saying to themselves, I guess I will have that extra drumstick, it must be ok, look how big she is? Should we ban Miss Piggy and Fred Flintstone from television too? Absurdities.

  • ByronJoeHamzah

    I am sorry to say this. I was expecting the letter to be extremely vitriolic and hateful, but I felt it was presented in a reasonably civil way (albeit very matter-of-factly). No word of ‘fat’ or any other comparable insults were used, and the word ‘obese’ is actually a clinical term used to describe an overweight person by clinicians (I am a doctor). I have known many colleagues who are far more blatant and unfiltered in their criticisms toward an overweight patient (during clinics and ward-rounds)as a potent risk-factor of many co-morbidities, especially in the US where obesity serves as a major public health concern.

    Just like how anorexic and emaciated female celebrities are viewed with disdain, once you are in the limelight or a public figure, there will always be people linking your image and appearance to the influence it has to impressionable youths. It is part-and-parcel of the job and if you find it hard to handle it, you should not be doing it in the first place.

  • Gay_Curmudgeon

    @yaoming: You don’t get it, do you? Just what do you know about her or any person who is overweight? Please either make a thoughtful, meaningful comment or keep your hateful comments to yourself.

  • Gay_Curmudgeon

    @miniskull: Bravo!!!

  • miniskull

    *Sight* Just when you thought a troll or two was squashed down, another one popped [email protected]redspyder, @the other Greg: What two piles of horse’s crap you are. It’s a bitter pill to swallow knowing that for a community that has gone through so much suffering and bullying, we have OUR OWN bullies like you inside our community. It’s sad that when we fight for equal treatments, people like you have done nothing but damage to what we are trying to achieve. You are no better than those GOProud. We really don’t want people like you in our life. And when you die out of misery, no one will miss you.

  • DarkZephyr

    @yaoming: You know what? We don’t know the real reason she is the size she is. YOU certainly don’t. But lets pretend it IS because she eats too much. If she heard your remark, She might say to you “I may be able to choose not to eat as much as I eat, but I cannot change the fact that I really love food”. Then what if she were to turn around and say to you “you may not be able to choose who you are attracted to, but you could easily choose not to act on it”.

    There are MANY cruel people who firmly believe that homosexual acts are unhealthy. You my friend, are just like them, but you point your despicable hatred at big people instead. What is so different from your attitude about big people from the attitudes of religious homophobes who say “love the sinner, hate the sin”? *Nothing at all*.

  • DarkZephyr

    @ByronJoeHamzah: People can sound just as “reasonable” and non-insulting when they make arguments about false assumptions like “gay marriage will destroy the family” or that “:gay people shouldn’t be allowed to teach because it will rub off on children”. It doesn’t make it ok. Don’t dismiss hatred as OK.

  • FStratford

    To those who think fat is remotely comparable to gay, black, nerd, poor, etc – if it’s about bullying – you are bullied because of your looks. If the email writer was not a bully, he would have known (googled, researched, asked family and friends, watched. Ore than 1 episode, asked the anchor herself before passing judgement) that this lady has been trying to lose weight. But the email writer did not care about any of that did he? All he wanted is to make a point on her appearance – and concluded that she is a bad role model (and implied, can not work as an anchor/lose her job). The email was vicious, albeit put in “polite” words.

  • the other Greg

    @miniskull: You certainly chose an apt moniker for yourself, “miniskull.”

    Exactly: what DOES her self-generated (for ratings!) controversy have to do with the GAY community?

    She describes herself as “obese” – her word! – but she could lose at least some weight if she chose and we can’t chose not to be gay.

    What “equal treatment” is she not receiving? She’s married. Gay people can’t get married in her state. She is not being bullied, as a lucratively paid adult, a celebrity in her city, by this eminently civil private email, which she chose to pretend not to understand the meaning of. She has cynically hitched her pie-wagon to the anti-GAY bullying cause.

  • yaoming

    I don’t think your argument works. No one is telling this lady not to eat. She just needs to eat less and/or eat more healthily and do more exercise. That’s a legitimate expectation.
    Telling gays not to be attracted to the same gender is not. That’s just ignorance.

  • the other Greg

    @DarkZephyr: “false assumptions like “gay marriage will destroy the family” or that “:gay people shouldn’t be allowed to teach because it will rub off on children”.

    Do you really think those are comparable to, for instance: “being overweight increases the risk of heart attack and stroke”? You realize that’s a TRUE assumption?

  • yaoming

    UPDATE: (from HuffPo)

    Kenneth Krause, the man who attacked local news anchor Jennifer Livingston over her appearance, is standing by his remarks.

    Krause sparked outrage when he emailed Livingston, an anchor for WKBT 8 Morning News in La Crosse, Wisconsin, saying she was not a “suitable example” for young girls because of her weight. Livingston made headlines after issuing an emotional response on-air Tuesday morning.

    In a four-minute segment, she addressed Krause’s attack and also thanked the viewers, friends, family and colleagues who have sent her words of support. Their response, Livingston said, has been “truly inspiring.”

    Krause, however, seemed unmoved by Livingston and her many supporters. After declining an invitation to appear on WKBT, he issued the following statement:

    “Given this country’s present epidemic of obesity and the many truly horrible diseases related thereto, and considering Jennifer Livingston’s fortuitous position in the community, I hope she will finally take advantage of a rare and golden opportunity to influence the health 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 or support she would be willing to accept.”

  • yaoming

    There’s also an article by Stephanie Hanes in the Christian Science Monitor about how this was not a case of bullying:

    Jennifer Livingston: Commenting on anchor’s weight is not bullying

    Her conclusion:

    “Calling someone a “bully” has taken on the tone of calling someone a ‘racist’ – it stops conversation and often leads to a fight over the label rather than the content.”

  • JennyDreadful

    The original email criticizing Livingston’s weight was struck me as condescending and bit patriarchal. Some may choose to see that as a form of bullying, some may not.

    He observes that she is overweight and assumes that the reason is due to something she has control over: a lack of exercise, poor food choices, or perhaps even a medical condition she has not chosen to address.

    He has no way of knowing if his assumption is true and chooses to chastise her anyway. Even if he is concerned about the obesity epidemic in this country and this was his motivation for the email, there are more productive ways of contributing to finding solutions for this issue than an email to an anchor he admits not to watching or knowing much of anything about.

    There are people who are “medically” overweight and healthy because of choices they make about food and exercise, in some cases even more healthy than people who are within or under “normal” ranges who may be making poor choices but are “skinny”.

    These people exercise, eat a healthy diet, have normal cholesterol & blood sugar levels and would otherwise be considered healthy if not for their weight. I see people like this at my gym, my physician father sees them in his practice, my friends who are health care professionals see them in their work.

    I am NOT AT ALL saying this is the norm, a great many people who are overweight do not practice healthy eating and exercise habits or have medical issues that they have not addressed (for many reasons, including poverty) but it does happen and probably more often than most people think.

    I am just saying he (like us) did not have enough information to tell her she is unhealthy and creating a bad example.

    I am also not sure that simply being on television in a local morning show is enough to set an example for ANYONE that “fat is okay” when people are bombarded with the message that fat is unhealthy, ugly, and shameful from almost everywhere else.

    To me, apart from creating a tempest in a teapot (which I am now guilty of adding to in my own way) I don’t see much point to his email at all and it probably should have been addressed with a personal reply had Livingston felt that was necessary. If she let the email inspire her to do a piece on bullying or even one on health and fitness with out putting herself at the center, so much the better.

    For those who have gone after advertisements featuring the invariable size 0 models and/or slightly chubby guy tearing into triple bacon ranch burgers, I am with you there.

  • miniskull

    @the other Greg: Wow, your sense of humor is just as rotten as your own personality. Just because the woman called herself “obese” that doesn’t give you the right to call her the same. Not even her own mother could do that. And I can vaguely see the “defense” of those bullies who claimed that they doing this just for the woman’s own good. She’s a journalist, not a model, how about instead of judging her body, why don’t we look at how good she is at her own job. She doesn’t have to be a body-perfect model for anyone. If you want to be inspired, go to fitness website, there are tons of people there for you. And let me just say this: just because you are “fit”, exercising regularly DOES NOT give you a permission to criticize anyone else’s health. You maybe healthy physically but mentally you are just sick as a narcissist. @the other Greg: as a victim of bullying, I don’t get why her being bullied is different as we being bullied for being who we are. Bullied victims all suffer tremendously, and to say “my bully is worse than yours” is the most stupid thing I have ever heard. You sound as nasty, cruel and selfish as a real bully. I know I’m no angel but with people like you I really just want to spit on your face. I’m done arguing with you.

  • DuMaurier

    I would never send someone an email like this woman received, because I think it would be rude and presumptuous. But I don’t think it’s “bullying”; unless he was being sardonic, he was sincerely and civilly expressing what he felt regarding her responsibility as a public figure. (I also think it’s presumptuous to expect public figures to be “role models”, so I pretty much disagree with this guy all around, but that doesn’t change my point) I see worse and nastier tear-downs of people’s appearance on Queerty comments threads just about every single day, BTW.

  • chrispy33

    Well, I’m conflicted. I do agree she can do something about her weight which is not the same as gay people becoming straight. But I’m totally against bullying since I was bullied as a teenager. But, can this be sort of compared to Evangelical Christians and their beliefs? Obviously, its their choice to believe what they believe and if you asked them they would say its impossible to deny them and change their religion which is logically not true. And I suspect it would be just as hard to convince them to change as it would be to convince this woman to change. But aren’t most of us trying like hell to change the beliefs of Evangelical Christians and their view of the world? I would posit this isn’t much different.

  • technicolornina

    Okay, bitches, listen up.

    My name is Nina and I come from a fat family.

    I don’t mean I come from a family that can’t get enough Spaghetti-Os and Twinkies. I mean that my grandmother–raised during the Great Depression–had a belly. My grandfather–also raised during the Great Depression–had a belly. My grandmother on my other side was 6’3″ and over 200lbs and as far back as my memory goes SHE ATE ONLY WEIGHT-WATCHERS AND SALADS.

    My bio-father? Flat-out fat. My mother? Flat-out obese. My aunt did okay until menopause, and then she gained 45 pounds almost overnight. My sister? Eats food that would make Jillian Michaels proud, in moderate amounts–and she’s overweight.

    I’m 5’6″ and hovering somewhere between 165 and “THIS SCALE MUST BE BROKEN.” My boobs are huge (and were not manufactured in Taiwan out of silicone). My hips look like they walked right out of the 1950s. My waist, compared to my other measurements, is actually smaller than proportionate.

    But I am overweight. I have tried diets. I have tried exercise. I have tried avoiding even the tiniest speck of sugar. I have tried doubling my fruits and vegetables for the day, cutting meat back to two portions per week, counting calories, running, biking, vitamins, everything except those gimmicky weight-loss pills that are full of crap that’s super-bad for you, and guess what?


    The letter-writer is out of line, uses personal attacks (“surely you don’t think you’re appropriate . . . ” etc.), and until he can prove he feeds his children an all-natural, unprocessed diet, he has no room whatsoever to talk. Are we supposed to assume that Jennifer goes home and crams burgers into her gob until she’s ready to burst, actively trying to stay overweight? Does the letter-writer take into consideration that there are genetic factors, medical factors, life factors (my stepdad eats well, but has back and leg problems severe enough to require a handicap-driving placard–he’s got a belly because exercise is out of the question if he wants to be able to move the next day), etc. that HE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT?

    Yes, this is bullying. And it’s disgusting. Should people big enough to make a second of themselves go around yelling “I’M FAT, THAT’S THAT, GET OVER IT”? No. THAT is choosing to be irresponsible. But is attacking a woman who is moderately overweight okay? No.

    And a final note: If Jennifer was a Justin, this would never have happened. So just get the hell off her back.

  • DarkZephyr

    @the other Greg: to Anti-Gay Christians “being gay will land you in Hell” is a true assumption. That doesn’t make their homophobia OK. Stop judging people for how they choose to live. Its her body, not yours.

    @yaoming: No, they are telling her HOW to eat and not to eat TOO much. They are still telling her what she should do with her body and what she wants to do. Its like with Roman Catholicism and its teaching on homosexual acts Vs. Homosexuality itself. They say that its OK to BE gay but you have to live a chaste life. As a gay man, I don’t want anyone telling me to live that way, even if it IS because they are concerned for my well being. I feel that my argument is sound and I stand by it. Stop trying to justify your prejudices and the prejudices of others.

  • DarkZephyr

    @chrispy33: I agree that its not the same as “gay people becoming straight” but dieting doesn’t stop you from craving extra food either. Not all Christians teach that you should convert from gay to straight. Some just say you should abstain from sex and remain celibate all your life. In this way, I believe it IS comparable.

  • hotshot70

    She was NOT bullied. The letter made ONE reference about her weight. He didn’t call her a name, he didn’t insult or threaten her. All he did was basically say that if she is gonna be an example to people, perhaps she should try getting in better shape. Sadly, there are bullies out there, but we also have people who over-react to constructive criticism. I have had people say “you dummy” to me, but I am not screaming “wahh, I was bullied!” I don’t know why the “gay” issue came up. It was all because she didn’t put down the donut and someone just suggested she might wanna lay off the extra calories. People have gotten too “sue- hungry”. If they don’t like what was said, they wanna get that person fired, the show cancelled, and their pockets filled with financial compensation. She should have just ignored the letter and moved on… She did say that “it didn’t bother her…” but then she makes the announcment! That’s like me saying that I am not hungry, then diving into the buffet (right behind Jennifer Livingston). This whole issue should be dropped. It was a big nothing. Probably her attempt to get ratings…

  • yaoming

    I agree with you hotshot70 and other posters who say this was not bullying and I hope people saw that article I posted above from the Christian Science Monitor about how this lady was not bullied.

    Remember how people used to smoke on TV all the time… talk show hosts, news presenters, etc.? What if this woman had been smoking and someone wrote in and suggested that maybe that wasn’t a good idea. Would there be all this back-and-forth and name-calling on this webpage? Honestly, I think the only bullying is happening right here.

  • the other Greg

    @miniskull: “Just because the woman called herself “obese” that doesn’t give you the right to call her the same. Not even her own mother could do that.”


    Thank you, Emily Fucking Post! Now we know the etiquette of pretend “bullying”!

    You’re probably right that her own mother couldn’t even do that (however politely) because the self-described “angry,” “fat,” “obese” daughter would refuse to speak to her for years afterward. She certainly seems like the type of delusional, self-righteous, seething hateful bitch who would cut her own mother out of her life after some kind, constructive criticism.

    And yes, she uses the word “angry” to describe herself. (After saying she wanted to “laugh it off” and ignore the polite email.) I take her at her word and believe she is angry, and fat, and obese – all words she uses to describe herself and that the polite, imaginary “bully” didn’t use.

    Have a Whopper or a donut, “miniskull” – maybe your skull will get bigger.

    @technicolornina: But SHE DOESN’T SAY ANY OF THAT. She doesn’t mention heredity, she doesn’t say anything about her habits, good or bad, defensive or or not. She doesn’t say if she’s ever had a cup of oatmeal or a leaf of arugula in the past twenty years. She simply doesn’t say, she just goes off into her tirade about “bullying.”

    “If Jennifer was a Justin, this would never have happened.” I disagree. I bet Willard Scott got a polite email like this one about ten years ago, and lost a hundred pounds!

  • the other Greg

    @DarkZephyr: Christians are not working from scientific FACTS on this earth. They can have faith that they are “facts” all they want, but that doesn’t make it equivalent to, say, a doctor telling you you’re your health is in danger because your cholesterol is sky-high.

    Heaven and Hell are, if not necessarily imaginary… debatable and unprovable in this life. Cholesterol, diabetes, heart attack, stroke are real.

  • the other Greg

    @DarkZephyr: Christians are not working from scientific FACTS on this earth. They can have faith that they are “facts” all they want, but that doesn’t make it equivalent to, say, a doctor telling you your health is in danger because your cholesterol is sky-high.

    Heaven and Hell are, if not necessarily imaginary… debatable and unprovable in this life. Cholesterol, diabetes, heart attack, stroke are real.

  • ByronJoeHamzah

    @DarkZephyr: I am reading the letter again, and I fail to find it as hatred, let alone bullying. Insensitive, yes. Frank, yes. I think extrapolating a
    critical opinion to hatred and discrimination is a little over-reaction. The only issue is that if he/she truly wanted to make the critique sound and valid, he/she should have not made it anonymised, as it just comes across as cowardly.

  • miniskull

    @the other Greg: Why do you have to hate someone who doesn’t even know you, so much like that? What makes you that miserable? I think your arguments are absolutely delusional, hateful and you are nothing but a pile of nasty toxic waste. You know, I thought by cornering you a bit to have you “tasted your own medicine”, hoping you can understand what millions of bullied victims have been through, boy was I wrong. You think the guy who wrote that letter genuinely concerned about the anchor’s health or he’s just trying to patronizing her because he finds her appearance “unacceptable”? You think this woman doesn’t have anyone else beside that guy telling her everyday that she’s “unhealthy” despite they knows nothing about her body? Hmm, where did I see this pattern before? Oh wait, from those people who telling me that gay is sick when they have no knowledge about human’s sexuality. If you think you are better at someone else and that gives you the right to patronizing others, you are truly narcissistic. That’s a classic trait of a bully. If you still think you are right then fine, be my guest. But let’s see at the end of the day being a bully like you is making you happy. I bet 10 bucks that you’re not. Maybe you are right, I have a small skull, because if I’m smarter than this, I should have given up arguing with a psycho like you. But hey, perhaps after a Whooper, I don’t have to be that “dumb” anymore.

  • hotshot70

    Like I said, the letter wasn’t saying “Hey, you fat pig!” It was just an opinion. He even stated it without beign vicious. A little harsh, yes, but as I said before, people are so quick to sue someone for stating an opinion. “you are fat!” Then “Well, I’m suing you for bullying me!” This was brought up on Opie & Anthony and they basically say the same as me. She thought that letter was bullying? Wait til she sees what happens next…

  • the other Greg

    @miniskull: “Oh wait, from those people who telling me that gay is sick when they have no knowledge about human’s sexuality.”

    Oh wait, being fat is physically unhealthy and is at least something a person has some control over and the ability to change.

    I don’t “hate” her, but I resent her hitching her overloaded pie-wagon to our anti-GAY bullying cause.

  • the other Greg

    @miniskull: “You think this woman doesn’t have anyone else beside that guy telling her everyday that she’s “unhealthy” despite they knows nothing about her body?”

    She probably doesn’t. I bet everyone she knows in person is afraid to talk to her about such a thing. (Probably a lot of other things too!)

    On TV, she had the PERFECT forum to tell about the difficulty of dieting… how hard it is to exercise… all that yadda yadda yadda. She could even have claimed to have “big bones” or a “glandular problem.”

    But she didn’t say any of that. Oddly, she made no reference to her eating or exercise habits at all. Instead she got defensive and “angry” (her word) and pretended the email is “bullying” when it’s not.

  • the other Greg

    Hey, I just saw a news story where it turns out she is a runner and she has – natch – a “thyroid problem.”

    Well she could have SAID that – on TV! She had the perfect forum to say that. Or she could have responded privately to the writer, or just ignored the email.

    Instead she was a bully, and worse, pretended the writer was a bully. And she dragged us gays into it.

    She’s a hypocritical bitch.

  • hotshot70

    so this whole thing could have been “staged” for attention! We should expose her for the fat fraud she is! lol

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