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Overweight News Anchor Takes On Fat Shamer ((UPDATE)) Apology from Mr. Krause on page 26

Overweight News Anchor Takes Fat-Shaming Bully to Task on Air

When Jennifer Livingston, the morning news anchor for WKBT-TV in La Crosse, Wisconsin, got the email last week, she was stunned.

"Now those of us in the media get a healthy dose of critiques from our viewers throughout the year, and we realize that it comes with having a job in the public eye," she said. "But this email was more than that."

Related: Sikh Woman Balpreet Kaur turns Cyber-Bullying Incident into Inspiration

It was from a local man who took issue with the fact that Livingston is overweight, trying to make her feel ashamed about how she looked. Her husband, the station's evening news anchor, Mike Thompson, was so upset by the email that he posted it on his official WKTB Facebook page.

"I've posted about negative emails the station has received in the past, but this one delivered specifically to my wife, morning anchor Jennifer Livingston, has just infuriated me," Thompson wrote. "Seriously, the fact that there are people out there like this (and I understand this person is a lawyer in town) makes me sick to my stomach."


The public fascination with celebrities' weight and body image is nothing new. Just last week, after speculation about a big weight gain, Lady Gaga admitted that she's "struggled with weight and eating issues my whole life" and launched a "Body Revolution" to encourage fans to embrace their flaws. Earlier this year, supermodel Kate Upton defended her curves after a "thinspiration" blogger called her "lardy" and "a squishy brick."

But for Livingston, the email made a public issue very personal. Instead of criticism, her husband's Facebook post garnered thousands of "likes" and hundreds of comments -- the vast majority of them positive.

"My compliments to Jennifer for taking the opportunity to address this issue on the air," wrote Jay Johnson on one WKBT-TV Facebook page. "That took a lot of guts. And my hat's off to WKBT as well, for allowing her to use air time for this purpose. Obviously your station has good people with integrity, who care for their community."

"What an AMAZING woman you are Jennifer!" viewer Felicia Nelson Koth chimed in. "I think you are excellent role model for everyone especially your girls."

News anchor Jennifer Livingston addresses her bully on air. (Photo: Screengrab from WKBT-TV)Livingston says that she was stunned by the outpouring of support. The Facebook discussions inspired her to address the issue on Tuesday morning, when she took a took a deep breath and, her voice trembling just a little, read the email out loud. On air.

"Hi, Jennifer," she read. "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 conniption 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."

She didn't identify the writer of the email, saying only that she received it on Friday from a La Crosse Man, and that the subject was "Community Responsibility."

"Yes, the truth is, I am overweight," Livingston responded as the cameras rolled. "You could 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?"

"You don't know me. You are not a friend of mine. You are not a part of my family, and you have admitted that you don't watch this show," she continued. "So you know nothing about me, but what you see on the outside. And I am much more than a number on a scale."

October is National Anti-Bullying month, she pointed out to her viewers. "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," she said. While the cruel words "mean nothing to me," what angers her is the fact that kids are bullied, in person and via email and social media, every day.

"This behavior is learned. It is passed down from people like the man who wrote me that email," she pointed out. "If you are at home and you are talking about the 'Fat News Lady,' guess what? Your children are probably going to go to school and call someone fat."

"We need to teach our kind to be kind, not critical, and we need to do that by example," she added, thanking viewers and Facebook fans for taking a stand against a bully. "We are better than that email. We are better than the bullies which try to take us down."

She wrapped up her editorial with a word to kids who find themselves facing bullies of their own.

"To all of the children out there who feel lost, who are struggling with your weight, with the color 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," she said. "Learn from my experience that the cruel words of one are nothing compared to the shouts of many."

As for her not being a responsible or suitable role model, her viewers beg to differ.

"I'm a 20-year-old college student, and a young lady. I believe that Jen is a great role model and definitely someone who makes getting ready for my 8 a.m. class at WSU a little better, especially on a Monday!" Mianna Nichole Sobotta wrote on Thompson's Facebook page. "Shame on whomever wrote that email, because clearly they don't understand what a positive role model is. In a society where girls focus on the Size 0 models, and struggle with self confidence, we need more women to show young girls that you need self confidence and to love yourself for who you are!"

update 10/04/12

'Bully' Viewer Stands by Critical Email to Overweight TV Anchor

video on page

He wrote an email so critical of his local TV anchorwoman's weight that it caused her to deliver an on-air response that made national headlines.

Yet, Kenneth Krause, the Wisconsin man behind the infamous email to Jennifer Livingston, a morning anchor with WKBT-TV in La Crosse, Wis., is not backing down, even as his public profile continues to grow.

A photo of Krause's posing behind a mountain bike in a tank top, helmet and bulging biceps is making the rounds after appearing on the Facebook page of Brian Simpson, a local radio host and friend of Livingston's who invited Krause to appear on his show.

READ MORE: Overweight TV Anchor Responds to Viewer 'Bully'

"Once again, I'd like to invite Kenneth to come on our show, The Morning Sickness on 95.7 The Rock, and talk about his hatred for people who are a bit overweight. I sure hope his wife, Michele, doesn't pack on a few pounds … who knows what he'd do to her," Simpson wrote on his page.

Krause, who, according to local media, is a personal injury attorney, has reportedly declined that request. Attempts to reach him today by ABC News were not successful.

He did, however, offer Livingston, a mother of three who acknowledged being overweight - even obese - in her four-minute, on-air editorial address Tuesday morning in which she also called Krause a "bully," help in losing weight.

" … 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," reads the statement submitted by Krause to WKBT after Livingston's editorial aired. "To that end, I would be absolutely pleased to offer Jennifer any advice or support she would be willing to accept."

READ MORE: Livingston's Famous Brother Stands by Her Side

Krause's email to Livingston - in which he questioned her example as a role model for young girls because of her weight and asked her to "reconsider" her responsibility as a "local public personality" - went viral after her husband and fellow WKBT anchor, Mike Thompson, posted it to his Facebook page. Thompson's Facebook page and the story posted by WKTB on its website have each received thousands of comments. Videos of the on-air editorial posted to YouTube have been viewed million of times.

They appeared on "Good Morning America" earlier this week, questioning Krause's own character for criticizing Livingston without knowing the facts.

"He doesn't know that she has a condition, a thyroid condition, that makes it harder for her to lose weight. He doesn't know any of that," Thompson said. "He just decided to attack her for no reason."

Livingston, a tri-athlete and a runner, says she would like to lose weight, but not because of Krause.

"I would like to get healthier for my own reasons. It doesn't really have to do with him," Livingston told "GMA" in a new interview Thursday. "It's not about him anymore.

"There are a lot of people out there who are so supportive in ways that are not negative and I will reach out to those people," she said. "I don't know what, if any, help he [Krause] could provide me."

The outpouring of support that Livingston has received since she publicly defended herself against Krause's comments has turned her story into a tale seemingly destined for Hollywood, and one of the people supporting her could help make that happen.

Livingston's brother, Ron Livingston, is an actor famous for his roles in "Office Space" and "Sex and the City," among others.

"I got a text from him first thing this morning saying, 'Way to go sissy. I'm so proud of you,'" she told "GMA."

by on Oct. 2, 2012 at 7:57 PM
Replies (231-240):
LoveMyBoyK
by Ruby Member on Oct. 6, 2012 at 10:17 AM
3 moms liked this
Long and short of it is that yes, her being a public opens her to dick comments BUT the person who chooses to be that dick ALSO opens themselves up to criticism when they act like a dick to a public figure.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
MockingJay
by Member on Oct. 6, 2012 at 10:22 AM
1 mom liked this

My example, if you look back, was in response to someone suggesting that his comments were comparable to your doctor saying something about your health. I like how you took that out of context. I was saying it is your doctors responsibilty, and not anyone elses, except maybe a family member, if their concerns are totally sincere. It is no one elses right to make uninvited/unsolicited comments about someone weigh. 

She made it public to expose this type of bullying.  Look up what bullying is. He is being a dick, and not to help her, but to ridicule and humiliate her, even if his intention was not for it to be made public. 

Again, it was not a valid criticism. I am sure she could have let it go, and I am sure many people in the public eye ignore these types of emails all the time. However, it was her right to take a public stand against it, and at the risk of her own bow public humiiation.

It is not anyones right, whether the person is  public figure or not, to make harrassing/bullying statments towards others. 

Quoting Lizardannie1966:

Who made this public, though? Who took a private email and made it a public fact? Will she only be accepting of positive emails and if so, should she be able to remain a public figure because she might see criticism as bullying?

Doing something as you suggest, in a grocery store, is not the same thing.

If she is such a stranger herself to her viewers, how did Krause manage to email her?

Quoting MockingJay:

. Do you want you local supermarket cashier commenting you your rotundness, and what you placed on your conveyor belt? "Hmmmmm, you are looking a bit thick around the middle, and we all know that is unhealthy. I would put this Ben and Jerrys back in the freezer section, but I'll wait for you to do it, since you could really use the exercise." You cannot be that ridiculous! 


Lizardannie1966
by on Oct. 6, 2012 at 10:28 AM

I didn't take anything out of context. I was replying to YOUR comment about comparing an email (or doctor's visit) to a someone coming up to a shopper buying groceries and suggesting that they're overweight.

This isn't bullying. It was a critical, rude email. What Livingston has done is blow a situation entirely out of proportion and oh look--just in time for October being anti-bullying awareness month. How convenient!

If he had "harassed" or actually "bullied" her, it would be different. He has not.

She'll go far with this. Next up? The book and oh..perhaps a national talk show. Who knows?

Quoting MockingJay:

My example, if you look back, was in response to someone suggesting that his comments were comparable to your doctor saying something about your health. I like how you took that out of context. I was saying it is your doctors responsibilty, and not anyone elses, except maybe a family member, if their concerns are totally sincere. It is no one elses right to make uninvited/unsolicited comments about someone weigh. 

She made it public to expose this type of bullying.  Look up what bullying is. He is being a dick, and not to help her, but to ridicule and humiliate her, even if his intention was not for it to be made public. 

Again, it was not a valid criticism. I am sure she could have let it go, and I am sure many people in the public eye ignore these types of emails all the time. However, it was her right to take a public stand against it, and at the risk of her own bow public humiiation.

It is not anyones right, whether the person is  public figure or not, to make harrassing/bullying statments towards others. 

Quoting Lizardannie1966:

Who made this public, though? Who took a private email and made it a public fact? Will she only be accepting of positive emails and if so, should she be able to remain a public figure because she might see criticism as bullying?

Doing something as you suggest, in a grocery store, is not the same thing.

If she is such a stranger herself to her viewers, how did Krause manage to email her?

Quoting MockingJay:

. Do you want you local supermarket cashier commenting you your rotundness, and what you placed on your conveyor belt? "Hmmmmm, you are looking a bit thick around the middle, and we all know that is unhealthy. I would put this Ben and Jerrys back in the freezer section, but I'll wait for you to do it, since you could really use the exercise." You cannot be that ridiculous! 



MockingJay
by Member on Oct. 6, 2012 at 10:33 AM

Have you ever seen how many nurses step out for a cig during their breaks? Perhaps they need to stop being nurses until they get their own health in order.

Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:


Quoting Sekirei:

so.. he is a major douche... not surprised. He is a lawyer.

My Gyno has to weigh at least 350 lbs. She isn't my nutritionist. Should I suggest her appearance makes me reconsider her ability as a physician?


MockingJay
by Member on Oct. 6, 2012 at 10:36 AM

It is no one business, excepting an MD, nutritionist, or someone who has been asked, what someones physical challenges are. 

It was not his only email. He was harrassing her. 



Quoting Lizardannie1966:

I didn't take anything out of context. I was replying to YOUR comment about comparing an email (or doctor's visit) to a someone coming up to a shopper buying groceries and suggesting that they're overweight.

This isn't bullying. It was a critical, rude email. What Livingston has done is blow a situation entirely out of proportion and oh look--just in time for October being anti-bullying awareness month. How convenient!

If he had "harassed" or actually "bullied" her, it would be different. He has not.

She'll go far with this. Next up? The book and oh..perhaps a national talk show. Who knows?

Quoting MockingJay:

My example, if you look back, was in response to someone suggesting that his comments were comparable to your doctor saying something about your health. I like how you took that out of context. I was saying it is your doctors responsibilty, and not anyone elses, except maybe a family member, if their concerns are totally sincere. It is no one elses right to make uninvited/unsolicited comments about someone weigh. 

She made it public to expose this type of bullying.  Look up what bullying is. He is being a dick, and not to help her, but to ridicule and humiliate her, even if his intention was not for it to be made public. 

Again, it was not a valid criticism. I am sure she could have let it go, and I am sure many people in the public eye ignore these types of emails all the time. However, it was her right to take a public stand against it, and at the risk of her own bow public humiiation.

It is not anyones right, whether the person is  public figure or not, to make harrassing/bullying statments towards others. 

Quoting Lizardannie1966:

Who made this public, though? Who took a private email and made it a public fact? Will she only be accepting of positive emails and if so, should she be able to remain a public figure because she might see criticism as bullying?

Doing something as you suggest, in a grocery store, is not the same thing.

If she is such a stranger herself to her viewers, how did Krause manage to email her?

Quoting MockingJay:

. Do you want you local supermarket cashier commenting you your rotundness, and what you placed on your conveyor belt? "Hmmmmm, you are looking a bit thick around the middle, and we all know that is unhealthy. I would put this Ben and Jerrys back in the freezer section, but I'll wait for you to do it, since you could really use the exercise." You cannot be that ridiculous! 




shadenn766
by on Oct. 6, 2012 at 10:39 AM
2 moms liked this

lol, o my word, did you say "cuntastic"?...please define that, because if it means what im thinking...im over here ROFLMAOOOOO

Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:

Quoting asfriend:

isn't the real story here the nepotism involved, obviously she isn't going to be an anchor on TV if not for her husband.



What a cuntastic thing to state

 

Lizardannie1966
by on Oct. 6, 2012 at 10:42 AM

When you're a public figure, how you look, what you wear and how you talk all becomes the "business" of the public.

His second email was a response email. It's not harassment if her email is open to the public to begin with. If that is the case, her bringing this to the publics attention (that whole having the cake and eating it too, thing) could be construed as "harassment" as well.

It boils down to this--he pissed her off with his rude, inappropriate (because he is not a regular viewer to begin with) email. Would she be singing his praises if it was a positive email?

I've yet to ever see any newscaster bring their negative, often criticizing emails to the public. She did so because apparently it tied in with this month being anti-bullying month. IMO, that tie-in has a lot to do with this altogether. Would she have made that public speech about the email had this been a different month? I wonder.

And how are the ratings on that show she is a part of now?

Quoting MockingJay:

It is no one business, excepting an MD, nutritionist, or someone who has been asked, what someones physical challenges are. 

It was not his only email. He was harrassing her. 



Quoting Lizardannie1966:

I didn't take anything out of context. I was replying to YOUR comment about comparing an email (or doctor's visit) to a someone coming up to a shopper buying groceries and suggesting that they're overweight.

This isn't bullying. It was a critical, rude email. What Livingston has done is blow a situation entirely out of proportion and oh look--just in time for October being anti-bullying awareness month. How convenient!

If he had "harassed" or actually "bullied" her, it would be different. He has not.

She'll go far with this. Next up? The book and oh..perhaps a national talk show. Who knows?

Quoting MockingJay:

My example, if you look back, was in response to someone suggesting that his comments were comparable to your doctor saying something about your health. I like how you took that out of context. I was saying it is your doctors responsibilty, and not anyone elses, except maybe a family member, if their concerns are totally sincere. It is no one elses right to make uninvited/unsolicited comments about someone weigh. 

She made it public to expose this type of bullying.  Look up what bullying is. He is being a dick, and not to help her, but to ridicule and humiliate her, even if his intention was not for it to be made public. 

Again, it was not a valid criticism. I am sure she could have let it go, and I am sure many people in the public eye ignore these types of emails all the time. However, it was her right to take a public stand against it, and at the risk of her own bow public humiiation.

It is not anyones right, whether the person is  public figure or not, to make harrassing/bullying statments towards others. 

Quoting Lizardannie1966:

Who made this public, though? Who took a private email and made it a public fact? Will she only be accepting of positive emails and if so, should she be able to remain a public figure because she might see criticism as bullying?

Doing something as you suggest, in a grocery store, is not the same thing.

If she is such a stranger herself to her viewers, how did Krause manage to email her?

Quoting MockingJay:

. Do you want you local supermarket cashier commenting you your rotundness, and what you placed on your conveyor belt? "Hmmmmm, you are looking a bit thick around the middle, and we all know that is unhealthy. I would put this Ben and Jerrys back in the freezer section, but I'll wait for you to do it, since you could really use the exercise." You cannot be that ridiculous! 





one_on_the_way
by Bronze Member on Oct. 6, 2012 at 10:43 AM
1 mom liked this

I kind of think she over-reacted to the e-mail.  First, I agree with others who disagree that she was "being bullied".  She was not.  Like other said - being criticized once by a stranger is not being 'bullied'.  Using this definition:  activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another person, physically or mentally -- none of that fits.  His intention was NOT to hurt her.  I believe that in his mind, he was trying to help her.  She said she has thick skin, but based on her reaction, not so much.  I think she was too sensitive.  The whole thing about "trying to take us down" -- what?  How was he 'trying to take her down'?  How was he 'cruel'?  He did not use any derogatory words or call her bad names in any way.  Also, this part:

"To all of the children out there who feel lost, who are struggling with your weight, with the color 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," she said. "Learn from my experience that the cruel words of one are nothing compared to the shouts of many." 

I don't agree with how she is comparing her obesity (which can be changed), to someone's skin color (which can't be changed), or someone's sexual preference (which can't be changed), or disability (which can't be changed).  She is not a minority race - she is not a homosexual - she is not disabled....she is obese.  If she has a thyroid condition that makes it more difficult to lose weight, then she has a thyroid condition that makes it more difficult to lose weight.  It makes it more difficult, not impossible.  Maybe she is okay with being obese - some people are.  But, it doesn't sound like she is.  She, herself, said she wants to lose weight.  Yet, having someone else point out her appearance ONCE is considered "cruel" and "bullying".

Again, what was so cruel about his e-mail?  I just learned in one of my classes today, that in Chinese culture calling someone "fatty" or telling someone when you first see them "wow, you're fat" isn't even seen as an insult....it is just a fact.  They call it like they see it and they are not looked at as being 'mean' or 'cruel'.  They are making an observation.  If the person doesn't like people saying that, they can make different choices in their diet and exercise -- and not be fat anymore.  Of course, in our American culture, it is okay for people to get all up in arms about another person making an 'accurate' observation if it is a criticism, not a compliment.  Only compliments are okay.  

As far as REAL bullying goes, I completely believe that should end.  Name-calling and incessant harassment of another person.....especially children and teens.....does a lot of real damage.  I just think the e-mail the guy sent is a very poor example of 'bullying'.  I think the news anchor blew it out of proportion and made it into some mean, cruel thing that was not the intention of the sender.


lga1965
by on Oct. 6, 2012 at 10:46 AM
1 mom liked this

 She could have just ignored him but she brought it out for everyone to find out about and made a big deal out of his e-mail and made herself look like a victim. She must really need a lot of attention. If I were this woman, I would have replied to the man in a polite way and put it all in the past.

If a neighbor commented on my weight ( a one in a million chance of that happening...LOL...) I would say "Thank you for your concern" and move on.I might think about it and take it seriously, just as I did 9 years ago when my son and DIL said if I continued smoking I wouldn't be allowed to hold their new baby that was due in 4 months. As a result, I did quit. :-)

By the way, I like your screen name. I am looking forward to reading the third book of the Hunger Games Trilogy. :-) I am almost done reading the second one.

Quoting MockingJay:

Her health is her responsibility, not anyone elses. Would you be good with your neighbors coming by and saying "Hey Iga, when you are out walking your dog, we noticed that you are putting on some weight. Our children like you, and are outside playing when you walk your dog. We are very concerned that they will want to be fat like you. This is about your health." 

Quoting lga1965:

 SHe does her job well.Nobody said she isn't a good news anchor. But she is more than a news anchor on a TV station.SHe is a person who needs to lose weight for better health.

Doesn't anyone realize that this is about her health?

Quoting LadyBugMom09:

I am overweight and I don't think her weight inhibits her from doing her job well. I guess I'm missing the bullying part, though. Yes, what he said was out of place and rude, but he didn't really call her names or ridicule her, did he?? I must have missed it. To me itself just another person who thinks a fat person needs to lose weight.

 

 

 

MockingJay
by Member on Oct. 6, 2012 at 11:01 AM

So what if you said that, and they said "No really, you need to stop walking the dog until you get in shape." and kept saying things to you about it, whenever you tried to walk the dog? 

I don't think she did it for attention. I think she did it to draw attention to the fact that people feel it is okay to comment, and be rude, and nasty to people who are overweight, or otherwise about peoples (esp. womens) bodies. 

You are not her. She made the choice to expose it, and that is her right. 

Having your child comment on your health, out of sincere concern, is different. Although, I do not agree with keeping a child away from a family who smokes entirely, I can see how this would be a concern for a parent. 

The first book is the best. 

Quoting lga1965:

 She could have just ignored him but she brought it out for everyone to find out about and made a big deal out of his e-mail and made herself look like a victim. She must really need a lot of attention. If I were this woman, I would have replied to the man in a polite way and put it all in the past.

If a neighbor commented on my weight ( a one in a million chance of that happening...LOL...) I would say "Thank you for your concern" and move on.I might think about it and take it seriously, just as I did 9 years ago when my son and DIL said if I continued smoking I wouldn't be allowed to hold their new baby that was due in 4 months. As a result, I did quit. :-)

By the way, I like your screen name. I am looking forward to reading the third book of the Hunger Games Trilogy. :-) I am almost done reading the second one.

Quoting MockingJay:

Her health is her responsibility, not anyone elses. Would you be good with your neighbors coming by and saying "Hey Iga, when you are out walking your dog, we noticed that you are putting on some weight. Our children like you, and are outside playing when you walk your dog. We are very concerned that they will want to be fat like you. This is about your health." 

Quoting lga1965:

 SHe does her job well.Nobody said she isn't a good news anchor. But she is more than a news anchor on a TV station.SHe is a person who needs to lose weight for better health.

Doesn't anyone realize that this is about her health?

Quoting LadyBugMom09:

I am overweight and I don't think her weight inhibits her from doing her job well. I guess I'm missing the bullying part, though. Yes, what he said was out of place and rude, but he didn't really call her names or ridicule her, did he?? I must have missed it. To me itself just another person who thinks a fat person needs to lose weight.

 


 


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