WKBT La Crosse, WI anchor Jennifer Livingston's 'bully' response - New York News

La Crosse, Wis. news anchor responds to 'bully' viewer criticizing her weight

Posted: Updated:
LA CROSEE, Wis. (KMSP) -

WKBT-TV morning news anchor Jennifer Livingston has a message for the man who criticized her weight in an email: he's a bully and she's more than a number on a scale.

Livingston says she has thick skin, "literally and otherwise," but what really set her off was the fact that this viewer is clearly setting a poor example for children and fostering the problem of bullying in schools.

"If you are at home and you are talking about the fat news lady, guess what? Your kids are probably going to go to school and call somebody fat," she said in an on-air response Tuesday.

JENNIFER LIVINGSTON'S MESSAGE

"To all of the children out there who feel lost, who are struggling with your weight, the color of your skin, your sexual preference, your disability, even the acne on your face. Listen to me 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."

Watch the video on YouTube

 

Livingston's response has turned into a huge talker on Facebook, and she made the rounds on the morning news networks on Wednesday, but there's a blooming debate about whether what she faced was bullying or simple rudeness.

"That e-mail was articulate. It was well written, but make no mistake about it, it was meant to hurt my feelings," Livingston said on CBS. "It was meant to shame me into losing weight, and in my opinion, that's a bully."

The social media storm began on Friday when Livingston's husband, also an anchor in La Crosse, took to Facebook to post the critical e-mail, which cited obesity as a dangerous health condition and said community personalities should be role models. The writer did not say she shouldn't be on TV because she is unattractive. Rather, he said it was irresponsible to set a bad example and asked Livingston to reconsider her responsibility to promote a healthy lifestyle.

The e-mail was certainly critical, but is it bullying? Family counselor Nina Johnson says no one on the outside can make that call.

"It's all in the perception," she said. "If a person feels attacked or intimidated or hurt, they will probably consider that bullying."

Jillian Lampert, of the Emily Project, works with those who struggle with eating disorders. She says half of those people have been teased about their weight. She commended Livingston for standing up to the writer.

"To me, [she's] a very good role model because it tells us that we're looking beyond superficial physical appearances and presumably looking at the quality of your brain," Lampert said.

The video has been viewed millions of times on YouTube, but media ethics professor Jane Kirtley took exception to the anchors using air time to discuss personal issues.

"Simply because something is suddenly trending on Twitter or getting a lot of hits on YouTube doesn't necessarily mean -- in the limited amount of time that we have available to cover the news -- that this is a good use of our time," she said.

What do you think? Join the conversation on Facebook.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Suspect, rookie officer both wounded in gunfire

    Suspect, rookie officer both wounded in gunfire

    Sunday, August 31 2014 10:11 PM EDT2014-09-01 02:11:38 GMT
    Authorities say an early morning gunfire exchange on a Brooklyn street has left the suspect hospitalized and a police officer with a graze wound.
    Authorities say an early morning gunfire exchange on a Brooklyn street has left the suspect hospitalized and a police officer with a graze wound.
  • New MTA bus routes take effect

    New MTA bus routes take effect

    Sunday, August 31 2014 9:51 PM EDT2014-09-01 01:51:36 GMT
    MTAMTA
    The MTA has new bus routes throughout the 5 boroughs. 
    The MTA has new bus routes throughout the 5 boroughs. 
  • 3 hurt in lightning strike as storms batter NYC area

    3 hurt in lightning strike as storms batter NYC area

    Sunday, August 31 2014 9:47 PM EDT2014-09-01 01:47:41 GMT
    Heavy thunderstorms swept through the tri-state on Sunday causing flash floods and lightning strikes that injured 3 people. The three men were struck at Orchard Beach in the Bronx Sunday afternoon and were being treated at a local hospital. Meanwhile, various Labor Day weekend celebrations were interrupted, delayed and even canceled as the U.S. Open tennis tournament had to be postponed and the Electric Zoo musical festival on Randall's Island had to be prematurely shut down.
    Heavy thunderstorms swept through the tri-state on Sunday causing flash floods and lightning strikes that injured 3 people. The three men were struck at Orchard Beach in the Bronx Sunday afternoon and were being treated at a local hospital. Meanwhile, various Labor Day weekend celebrations were interrupted, delayed and even canceled as the U.S. Open tennis tournament had to be postponed and the Electric Zoo musical festival on Randall's Island had to be prematurely shut down.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices