Video: TV Anchor Responds to Attack on Her Weight.

In LaCrosse, Wisconsin, a local news anchor named Jennifer Livingston received a nasty email from a viewer about her appearance. The email reads as follows:

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. 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 public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.

Jennifer responded to the email on air. That response, which has received millions of views in just the last day, has since gone viral. Clearly, it has struck a chord.

Take a look:

Yes, obesity is an epidemic in this country. And yes, promoting a healthy lifestyle is an important responsibility. But the suggestion that Jennifer is an unfit role model simply because of her excess weight, in my opinion, falls flat.

As I’ve said before, scales measure one thing: Pounds. They don’t measure your value as a human being and certainly not the content of one’s character or a person’s contributions to the community. In a world that too often tells us otherwise, this viewer’s comments become part of a destructive dialogue.

I’d love to know what you think. Do you think that this viewer’s email was uncalled for and unnecessary, or do you think he has a point? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Comments

  1. Thanks, Davy for posting this clip. I love it when people who are subject of bullying are able to so eloquently stand-up to their attackers. I was an overweight kid–from the time I was in kindergarten through high school I was teased about my weight. On top of that–I was gay and struggled with my sexual orientation on a daily basis. I was kicked, punched, thrown into a trash can and shoved into the girls’ bathroom repeatedly. It was a difficult life—but I maintained and grew and learned. Today–I’ve been able to give back to the lives of so many kids and students through my career and have been able to teach them that this is type of action is not okay.

    Thanks, for sharing this!
    Jason

  2. I am a fitness instructor running my own business and a few weeks away from finishing my BSc in Nutrition.

    If there is anything I have learnt in all of this its that there is no 1 solution for all people, not physically, or psychologically for weight/health/habit change. Sure, this woman is overweight, and it’s been well documented that obesity is associated with significant health consequences (diabetes and cardiovascular disease in particular) but not all people who are overweight are of poor health. There are many people who carry excess adipose tissue with perfectly functioning body systems, and for these cases, if there are no health consequences, it is purely what is considered a desirable image that determines whether the individual’s weight is ok or not.

    That all aside, the emailer is obviously an idiot, stating that obesity is a choice, and a dangerous habit to maintain. There is so much pressure in the western world to be thin that if it were as easy as making a choice, everyone would have minimal body fat.

    You could really argue both sides to the cows come home but…

    Maybe she is unhealthy, maybe she is representing an image associated with an unhealthy lifestyle. Personally, I think it’s healthy to see a range of body shapes and sizes in admirable roles on television.

  3. You handled that so well, I could just hug you!! You are how you are and so so beautiful as you are!!!!!! I don’t know you but I can see in ur face just how beautiful you are as a person. DO NOT CHANGE URSELF UNLESS ITS FOR YOUR OWN SELF, but if you are happy as u are then stay that way. You look warming and inviting, if I wasn’t gay and I saw u at a pub or somewhere I would give you my number 🙂 TO BE HONEST also…who even looks at people’s weight on tv lol, that guy needs a life lol

  4. You go girl. If we all looked the same it would be a very boring world.

  5. Although I believe that the person who wrote that comment has a total lack of soul, accepting that she has a point would be in order.

    All people is free of giving their opinion, and as the lady said TV People needs to lear how to deal (most of time just to ignore) things like that. I live in Peru, and tv stars here receive bad critics almost every hour – incredibly more cruel than that one.

    NONETHELESS

    As a gay guy who is not exactly a hunk, I must say that although critics are a thing that I`m use to, there’s a limit for everything and people who attack others just because the appearance… they are really really sad, pathetic and should start thinking if they are as perfect as they believe they are.

    Obesity is indeed a problem, but each one decides how to deal with it, no one is just a figure in a scale. It`s a pitty that there are still so many people who havent figure that out yet.

    Thanks for sharing my post!!

    Tyler

  6. A cousin of mine posted this on FB earlier this day. This lady nailed it and said every word to sheer perfection. All power to her, she looks fine in my book! 😉

  7. Thank you for standing up for yourself, your daughters, my granddaughters, and all women (and all people) who are less than perfect in a “Perfect” persons eyes. We are ALL made in God’s image….(I am sure there would be people who would criticize God too)…. But I believe you are a perfect example of what I would like to be. You are intelligent, beautiful, brave, heartfelt, and honest. Please continue to believe in yourself and those of us who are “bullied” by society for not fitting in….you are an inspiration!
    Also, kudos to your hubby for stepping up. Modern chivalry is very honorable. Your daughters (family) are very lucky people to have you two!

  8. It is beautiful to hear a female who can stand up for herself as well as others instead of cowering at yet another example of how a male will “nicely” tell a female how he prefers her to look. His bullying was not simply an attack on you, but also females in general. I guarantee he would not have taken time out of his day to write something like this to one of the many obese men on television.

    I love how you took this beyond yourself and made a point of helping others by pointing out how this can affect children and create a continuation of the bullying cycle. Your response truly came from a place of caring. If more people could tap into this we would all live a lot more peacefully and we would have a lot less aggressive/passive aggressive behavior to deal with in society.

    It is obvious that you are person who questions motivations, not only concerning yourself, but for others peoples’ behavior as well. I LOVE seeing this! And for you to reach out to others with your valuable insight is huge. Thank you!!!! <3

  9. She is a brave and wonderful women. I was bullied (and still am) my whole life. I can’t believe that this man could sit down and write this email. To be that unhappy with your life that you have to send a hurtful email to a women up just say on tv is unbelievable. She is getting crap about making it bigger then it actually is. I think everyone who says that is wrong. This problem has been happening forever. To voice an opinion about it is not making it bigger. Its doing something about it. No one was there to tell me that what the bullies say have nothing to do with your self worth. I grew up thinking that I had to change myself to be liked. For her to going on tv and say that is amazing to me. Instead of just letting roll off your shoulders she took a stand. Her 3 daughters and husband should be very proud of her.

  10. I loved her response when I first saw it last night. The man attacked her for not fitting the vision of a pencil thin woman on tv. Her response seemed to be more of a call to accept your body as it is, and love yourself, not what others think of you.

    That is something that you stress here and on break the illusion, and I think is so important. You define yourself, not others.

    While obesity is a problem in the US, the solution is not shaming people into losing weight. That would only serve to hurt those individuals more if they resort to emotional eating or an eating disorder to attempt to solve their “choice”

  11. Tyra Banks, when she still had her talk show, did an episode on the misconceptions of body size, and the flawed views of society. She had a thin shorter woman, who looked like she was very healthy, her body was perfectly formed and she had a bright smile. Then Tyra brought up a somewhat larger black woman, who looked like she was a bit over weight, even for her tall stature, and people assumed she was unhealthy, that she was lazy, and that she didn’t do anything but eat and watch tv all day. Well Tyra put them both to the test of an excersize course that consisted of push-up, crunches, running on a tredmill, and a few other excersizes. The thin white lady struggled to even get past the first portion of the course without panting, while the thicker black lady flew through the entire course like it was nothing. Thus proving that thin does not mean healthy, and thick most certainly does not mean unhealthy. Anyone who believes things like that, is truly ignorant to much of the worlds different types of people and bodies. Mankind has got to become more informed if they are going to feel entitled to place judgement, because I can almost guarantee that the man who wrote that email is probably far more unhealthy than that beautiful news anchor.

  12. Who ever sent that email is obviously person with issues and in his own mind is perfect, I’d invite him on the show with a diverse group of people who are seen as “different” and see exactly how his sick mind thinks. Yes being in the public eye you do project an image that others look up to, and she’s obviously a respected member of the community.

  13. JoAnn Rosenberg says:

    Thank-you for not letting that comment go- – I work at a school and some of the comments said ( of the president even) are unthinkable. You are so beautiful inside that maybe some people just get jealous. Keep your chin up!

  14. Martyn Adams says:

    To whoever wrote that email I have this to say.
    Maybe she is overweight in your words, however, I’ll turn this around and back on you. Surely you are also overweight, in bullying and nasty comments.
    Hiding behind an email, yeah, soooo brave of you.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

  15. Great to see she decided to set such an excellent example for kids by making this reply. This email like all bullying has no place. It is the way you behave towards others and in your community that makes someone a good example not their physical appearance, and what an example she has set.

  16. She was quite clear minded in recognizing that the act was bullying. I would have agreed that being overweight is unhealthy, however the focus shouldn’t be on how much she eats, but on how much is wasted by a society as a whole.

    Buying groceries has the artificially inflated price by having brand names vie for space that is at eye level and within easy reach, and this is a grocery store sales tactic. Competitors don’t have the same clout or buying power to push the brand names out of view, especially when the product is local, healthier and made with un-modified natural genetically safe methods.

    If you want to blame someone for her condition? Look to the corporate farmers who make the products we eat cheaply, wrecking the ecology, damaging the environment with pesticides, filling our mailboxes with flyers, and providing genetically altered products that have been over-advertised as cheap but is by no means a healthy choice, just the only choice.

    Thank you Davey! (Nice chest by the way.)

    Peace!

  17. 🙂 I’m so glad that some people can actually stand up against bullies. I bet some people – some people who might one day have become bullies – might have actually thought about the topic for the first time, and might rethink their behaviour in the future.

  18. While I definitely disagree with attacking anyone, from my own experience, overweight people are usually that way because of their lifestyle and dietary choices. From my own experience, overweight people are the ones eating the largest serving sizes, the most unhealthy foods, and working out the least.

    While I understand that there are certain genetic factors, the fact is that, if you go back even 50 years ago, people were not nearly as fat. As a society, we need to see obesity as the serious epidemic that it is, and remind people that their health is their first priority.

    Even though I disagree with this email, I understand where this man is coming from. He is obviously frustrated, and feels that people are not taking obesity seriously. I, for one, agree with that. If you have a serious health condition, that should come before work, family, friends, your car, or whatever is happening in your life. If it doesn’t, then you are putting your health last, and that is a choice.

  19. Um. I don’t see how this is bullying, I think it could have been worded more kindly, but I think it is a fair point. At the end of the day you can be overweight and happy, you can be overweight and have a good job, you can be over weight and fullfilled in life, but you can’t be overweight and healthy. And that’s the point this viewer is trying to make, that she isnt’ healthy, and as a community leader is that the message she wants to send to her viewers. I think she was too offended by the email to see the real message there, and rather than respond, she has reacted and missed the point.

    • Yup, I completely agree with you.

      • Shawn Darabi says:

        I agree with this too… Nothing was accomplished here. The email was a valid point. It did not attempt to assassinate her character, her self-worth, or her value to the organization or society it was simply stating that she had been a public figure for quite a while now and when your a public figure you should set a conscious healthy example for the community. Sure, just flip it and say that he’s a bully and air all your personal business out on live TV instead of actually acknowledging the truth and taking responsibility of yourself. Good Job. The truth hurts but someone’s gotta say it.

  20. Wow… WTF I can’t believe. That I am fat too but dahm how in the hell dos he thank he is that is not right I have a wate proble and a disable and I am stri g what my sexalite as will how dos he thank he is. Sweet god bles you it tuck a lot to do that u are my hear god bless u and your famine

  21. I love how Jennifer stood up for this and wouldn’t take it. It disgusts me that the man who wrote this letter deemed her as “unfit” to be a public role model, just because of her weight. It’s people like this that need to learn a very important lesson.

  22. What proof do we have that this was not staged? It seems perfectly timed with “Bullying month” and she got lots of publicity and recognition which she could not have got otherwise. Her response seemed a bit too well prepared and structured (not a very strong point cause we don’t know when she got the email and how soon she reacted, but still point worth mentioning). The whole thing seemed very well organized. In these times when publicity gimmicks are so common, it’s not hard to believe this could be staged. I am NOT saying it was, just offering a different perspective to think about.

    I myself have struggled with being overweight and got bullied a LOT growing up. In control of my weight now though. I like the way she responded to the email, I seriously do. I just hope it was genuine and that she was not using a sensitive issue to get publicity. Have a great, healthy day everyone 🙂

  23. This speaks volumes to the power of the media to promote the current hot topics of obesity and bullying. I don’t read his email as offensive, he is simply making a point. He is not using any offensive words and is entitled to free speech as much as everyone. The newsreader has used a private communication and turned it on its head in a very public way to target this guy. In so doing she is insighting hatred against him as is demonstrated from some comments here.
    The newsreader also has not responded to his point. Maybe there are reasons she is obese.

  24. I’ve only just watched this here in the UK! I’ve always carried too much weight and had a BMI of over 30, what worries me here that given the massive scientific evidence that the lady in the video did not address the issue which is, that a mother of 3 children she doesn’t see being obese or overweight as an issue worth addressing. I’m now over 50, am taking meds for hypertension and basically had to face up to the fact that I need to lose weight so that I can be around to see my children (and hopefully grandchildren) grow up. In addition can we be sure that her taking the e-mail and responding in the way she did was not a form of bullying in it’s self?
    The comments by Oz and Michael were valid points, I would hope that having raised the issue with her, even in such a callous way, it will get her to consider if carrying her weight is a viable long term option.
    The good news for me is I’ve lost 14lbs in the last 8 weeks using the ADF system and my BMI is already 28.3. thanks for making the Harris Benedict calculator available to us.

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  25. The viewer is not bullying her, Nor are his words carrying any vicious attack tone. This stroke a chord within her and her husband´s emotions and self awareness (more than we are taking into consideration, much actually), and that had much to do with “pay back” due to that emotional poiting within herself and her husband. The viewer was very bold, and polite, and private. Thumbs down to her response and attitude.

  26. I have to say, obesity and fat sensitivity are such difficult topics nowadays. The viewer sent a private communique out of concern and offered to assist her in getting more fit if she so desired. He was obviously trying to help. I am a fat gay guy myself, so believe me, I know when lines are crossed in helpfulness. She overreacted to his letter and instead called him out on the air for trying to be a helpful human being. 2/3 of Americans are overweight, and that’s because it’s “SUCH a CRIME” to be acknowledged or to acknowledge someone else as overweight. To be honest, she obviously knows that she has some control over her weight, and it hurt her pride to think that people who watch her might have similar opinions as her. And while it IS possible to be overweight and 100% healthy, it’s also ridiculously rare, and NEVER lasts for a person;s entire life–the weight always gets in the way at some point. believe me, I know.

  27. It’s hard to find well-informed people about this subject, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

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