Jennifer Livingston, a TV anchor/reporter in La Crosse, Wisconsin, received this letter from a male viewer:
It’s unusual that I see your morning show, but I did so for a very short time today. I was surprised indeed to witness that your physical condition hasn’t improved for many years.
Sure 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 public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.
Livingston responded to the man in a segment that ran over 4 minutes. An excerpt:
“While I tried my best to laugh off this very hurtful attack on my appearance, my colleagues could not do the same, especially my husband, our 6 and 10 anchor Mike Thompson. Mike posted this email on his WKBT Facebook page and what happened next has been truly inspiring. Hundreds and hundreds of people have taken the time out of their day to not only lift my spirits, but take a stance that attacks like this are not okay.
“The truth 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? …Now I am a grown woman, and luckily for me I have a very thick skin, literally — as that email pointed out — and otherwise. That man’s words mean nothing to me, but really angers me about this is is there are children who don’t know better — who get emails as critical as the one I received or in many cases, even worse, each and every day. …
“I leave you with this: To all of the children out there who feel lost, who are struggling with your weight, with the color 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.”