Watch: Wisconsin Morning News Anchor Jennifer Livingston Calls Out Emailer Who Called Her Fat
October is National Anti-Bullying Month, and Jennifer Livingston, a morning news anchor at WKBT channel 8 in Wisconsin reminded viewers of that with a smart and poignant rant about bullying after she received an email from a man in La Crosse, Wis. who called her fat in a condescending email disguised as advice.
Livingston, rather than kowtow to the bully called the man out on air, although not by name—which would have been amazing and she’s a better person for not having done so—and she turned the hateful letter into a teachable moment.
The letter read:
“Hi Jennifer, It’s unusual that I see your morning show but I did so for a 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 personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.”
Livingston, who said she received hundreds of supportive messages and emails after her husband Mike Thompson –also a news anchor at the station—posted the email on Facebook, proverbially faced off with the man who wrote her the critical email naming him a bully and calling him out for his behavior.
“Attacks like this are not okay,” Livingston said. “The truths is I am overweight. You can 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?”
She went on to say that while she is an adult with thick skin, kids who are exposed to the cruel taunts of bullies day in and day out aren’t necessarily equipped to fend off such attacks.
“October is National Anti-Bullying Month, and this is a problem that is growing every day in our schools and on the Internet,” Livingston said. “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.”
Livingston implored people to not only teach kindness to their children but to lead by example. Regarding bullying she said, “This behavior is learned. It is passed down from people like the man who wrote me that email.”
“We need to teach our kids how to be kind, not critical, and we need to do that by example,” Livingston added.