Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

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 (261-270):
moneysaver6
by Gold Member on Oct. 6, 2012 at 1:25 PM
1 mom liked this
What do you disagree with me on? I have said that while I believe his email was rude, self-righteous, & indignant that I don't believe he was bullying her.

I do consider it to be bullying (not to mention immature), however, when you call someone names.


Quoting Paperfishies:

Yes, pansies.



And just like you disagree with my opinion, I disagree with yours. If you put yourself out there, you open yourself up to critisicms and judgement.



Look how we talk about celebrities.




Quoting moneysaver6:

Pansies? Really? Now who's bullying?





Quoting Paperfishies:

Then I agree with you. My disagreement is with the pansies who are calling him a bully and saying she is a victim if bullying.








Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:


Quoting Paperfishies:

People who put themselves on display for the public, especially the media, open themselves up to any and every criticism that comes their way.









Look, you can say the guy is a dick head, he probably is an arrogant prick. I won't argue with that. What I take issue with is the use of the term "bully". This woman wasn't bullied, she was criticized and because she didn't like the criticism she went of the defense about all of this.




Now if this guy continues to contact her over and over telling her she is a disgusting fat ass, then that would cross the line into bully land...but one email, telling her she should be a good and healthy role model for children of the community, isn't being a bully.










I never said he was a bully. In fact, I did write that. I also wrote that I felt it was a dick move but that I didn't find him a bully.



Posted on CafeMom Mobile
moneysaver6
by Gold Member on Oct. 6, 2012 at 1:27 PM
1 mom liked this
I said "if". I do not know this woman personally and do not know if she has gotten other emails. I suspect that she has, though, based on my experience and her reaction.

Quoting Lizardannie1966:

She's heard from Krause (that I am aware of) twice--the first email that caused all of this mess and a second one in rebuttal, which I feel the second one was within his right as a response to the call-outs.

However, has she heard from others negatively and especially concerning her weight? Maybe I missed that part?

Quoting moneysaver6:

Oh I completely agree with you that ratings (or a lack thereof) probably had something to do with her choosing to address this now.



I also wouldn't have handled it the way she did...but I can understand her frustration if she was getting repeated emails (even if from different people).




Quoting Lizardannie1966:

So that "proverbial straw" was enough for her to use air time to call him a bully?

You and I may not provide that type of scrutiny but then again, I'd take it with a better grain of salt if I were on the receiving end, too. I'd see it for what it is--an email from a "stranger," as she has called him and why should this stranger's comments matter to me so much that I managed to decide to throw them out there for October's Anti-bullying Awareness with a call-out to this "stranger" on public TV?

I honestly feel there has been some self-serving going on here with this story. Has anyone outside of her home state ever heard of her until now?

Quoting moneysaver6:

Like I said in another reply, I'm sure this email was just the proverbial straw...





That scrutiny can be wearing. My guess is that his email was just the breaking point.





I believe that the mere fact that he messaged her about that subject was rude, self-righteous, indignant, & nasty. It was not his place to send an email like that.





Are those in the public eye subject to such scrutiny? Yes, but that doesn't mean that those providing said scrutiny should do so.






Quoting Lizardannie1966:

Those in the public eye unfortunately live in that fishbowl existence in which they're left open to not only positive attention but also negative, as I wrote. It's the downside, I would think, of that type of career.

I would not call what this man has written as any of the words you've used. Rude, yes but nasty? No and not only was his word choice not "nasty," but even his rebuttal (the second email) was blunt but almost professional.

It's hurtful to hear/read what he wrote to her. She is well aware of her weight issue and should be proud of all the things she has accomplished. It's nice to see a TV news anchor actually have a little meat on her bones and not be the equivalent of Barbie.

But the fact remains that she, as that public figure, is open to scrutiny. I again ask--will every piece of criticizing mail or commentary be deemed "bullying" by this woman?

Quoting moneysaver6:

Most have NO IDEA what people will say to those in the public eye. They can be pretty nasty, self-righteous, & indignant simply because they *think* they know you.







Quoting Lizardannie1966:

It is what it is.  When you're in the public eye, you will receive positive and negative feedback. I sincerely doubt she is the only newscaster who has ever received negative comments about how she looks yet she is the first I've heard of to date that claimed it was bullying. I have to wonder--again--if future criticism of her in email will also be taken as bullying?

Do I agree with what he wrote? No and I've stated as much in my earlier replies to this thread.

I think it's wonderful that we see a woman of her size standing before the cameras and proving that a news anchor--anyone on TV--does not have to be super thin.

His email to her was rude. But I don't see it as bullying.


Quoting OneToughMami:

Why does her being in the public eye matter? Why does she have to look a certain way?







Posted on CafeMom Mobile
free1
by ~FreeSpirit~ on Oct. 6, 2012 at 1:29 PM

 Cont'...   Bullying

The apology comes days after Mr Krause wrote an email to Wisconsin WKBT anchor  Jennifer Livingston scolding her for, in his belief, allowing herself to gain so much weight.

'Surely you don't consider yourself a suitable example for this community's young people, girls in particular,' he wrote in his email that was published by Mrs Livingston's husband, fellow anchor Mike Thompson who lashed out calling him a bully.

 

More...

 Adding insult to injury, the security guard, previously misreported as an attorney, offered to help her lose weight telling ABC he never had any intent to offend her, and maintains his defence in that.

'She says she has a thyroid problem did you consider any of that before writing the e-mail?' an ABC reporter asked Mr Krause who appeared shocked by the news of her condition.

'Of course, I was obese as a child; I've been fighting with that all my life. Boy I can sure emphasize with that,' he said.

Backlash: In a special four-minute comment that aired during this morning's news broadcast, reporter Jennifer Livingston responded to a viewer who chided her over her weight

Weighty issue: In a special four-minute comment that aired during yesterday's news broadcast, reporter Jennifer Livingston responded to Mr Krause's email that chided her over her weight

Weight control: Kenneth Krause, previously misreported as a personal injury lawyer, has now said he was obese as a child and has had a life-time fight with his weight

Weight control: Kenneth Krause, previously misreported as a personal injury lawyer, has now said he was obese as a child and has had a life-time fight with his weight

He said if he had to write the email again, he may change a few things.

Previously speaking about Mr. Krause and his letter on the Today show, Mrs. Livingston said she was particularly rubbed up the wrong way by being called a bad role model to young girls - rather than being called fat.

She said: 'The person called me obese and I can deal with that and being called fat, but it was calling me a bad role model that really rubbed me the wrong way.

'Not only for our community but in particular for young girls, I am a mother of three young girls and I felt that was an unfair judgement of someone who didn't know me.

Aftermath: Jennifer Livingston spoke to the Today show about the comments saying she is trying to inspire her daughter to take a stand against bullying

Aftermath: Jennifer Livingston spoke to the Today show about the comments saying she is trying to inspire her daughter to take a stand against bullying

Husband support: Anchor Mike Thompson, left and with his wife Jennifer, right, said the email was sick and infuriating Husband
Husband support: Anchor Mike Thompson, left and with his wife Jennifer, right, said the email was sick and infuriating Jennifer Livingston & husband
moneysaver6
by Gold Member on Oct. 6, 2012 at 1:51 PM
Radio's a hard career to make a living in if you aren't doing multiple jobs or been at it for 20+ years. It's not the financial gold mine that many think it is. (Hence my being a nurse also...and us doing freelance and at one point owning an audio production company.)

Quoting Lizardannie1966:

I wonder if anyone has interviewed Mrs. Krause yet about this? What her opinion is?

The radio show host had a valid question, I will hand you that. But I see it as total exploitation on the part of that host for his own gain. And for that matter, a little equitable "bullying," too.

I will say that I am awe about the radio thing. I've been told I have the "voice" for it (never-mind the fact that I've been told by more than a few times that I should also do phone sex because of my voice, too lol ;) ) a few times in the past. 

I think this is truly fantastic! :)

Quoting moneysaver6:

No...the comment from her husband to another woman regarding her inability to be a role model or example simply because of her weight could cause the wife to feel that way. I'm sorry. I thought that was clear.



I don't know how or why what the dj said would cause Krause's wife to think anything. I simply think his question was a valid one for the reason you outlined in red below.



Yes, I am in radio. (Although I'm a nurse by trade, I haven't worked as a nurse in several years.)







Quoting Lizardannie1966:

We have not seen the last of Livingston on this or in the future.

I stand by my assessment--this was clearly very self-serving on her part and perhaps a career move, too.

How long as Krause and his wife been married? One set of comments from "complete strangers" like the radio show host could cause this woman to start questioning her husband? really? and if so, would the host's comments/questions be that "proverbial straw" for HER or is she that insecure in her marriage to Krause that she should actually suspect he'd think less of her to begin with (ETA--and not know this about him but stay with him anyway)? Shouldn't she know her husband already?

I think that suggestion in red is a deep dig, honestly. This is turnabout on the part of Livingston, her husband and that radio show host and because many are offended by his blunt comments to her in email both initially and in rebuttal, it's OK for a radio show host to make comments like that. Fair is fair..and all that good gobbedy gook.

OT, a little--you are on radio yourself?

Quoting moneysaver6:

Like I said, I think it's a fair question to ask. Were I his wife, I'd certainly wonder if he'd think less of me if I gained weight; regardless of the reason.





Of course the radio host took the opportunity to talk about it. Why not? So did I...as did many others. Why? We're in that same public eye. We get the "helpful" suggestions from listeners or viewers. We get it.





The bottom line is that Krause's email wasn't likely the real issue. It was likely the proverbial straw...so it was the email featured and talked about. It was the winner...or loser...however you want to see it.






Quoting Lizardannie1966:

Validity of the questions isn't what I was asking. If that is the case, then Krause's questions and comments were equally "valid."

The radio station host is not stupid. He will take whatever opportunity to bank on whatever controversy there may be and that is why HE got involved.

Yet, his questions could also be seen as bullying and this is why I've asked if turnabout is always fair? I'll go further--if the name of the game is being role models for children, should we be teaching our kids that when bullied, bully right back or have your friends do it for you?

Krause has not, so far, accepted the radio host's invite and I can't say I blame him. Why give a radio host looking for ratings ONLY the chance to exploit a situation further? And for that matter, what if that radio host actually saw an opportunity to take Krause's side and go after Livingston. Would that be fair?

Bullying, it seems, can take on many definitions and forms. That they're bringing Krause's wife into the mix even by a simple comment gives me the idea that this is getting ready to go too far.

Quoting moneysaver6:

Frankly, I think his questions were valid.







Quoting Lizardannie1966:

Again, I totally disagree that what occurred and what he wrote in that email was bullying.

I do have a question--what about the radio show host and HIS comments about Kenneth's wife and if she packed on a few pounds, "who knows what he'd do to her?" Could this also be seen as bullying? or is turnabout always fair?



Posted on CafeMom Mobile
moneysaver6
by Gold Member on Oct. 6, 2012 at 1:53 PM
1 mom liked this
I agree. Apologies are far too rare these days.

I also agree, by the way, that he wasn't bullying her.


Quoting Lizardannie1966:

Apparently Mr. Krause has come forward and has agreed with you.

I'm still a stubborn enough B to believe he wasn't bullying her but it IS nice to see/read someone actually apologize.

In this day and age, that is too much of a rarity.

Quoting moneysaver6:

People email those in media for lots of reasons...giving them advice on their personal lives when you do not actually personally know them &/or are not a close friend or family member is not appropriate.
Quoting Lizardannie1966:

Exactly.

So only the positive emails to her then? That's what she expects? Will all criticism be considered bullying by her and her husband then?

Quoting moneysaver6:

Most people in news or radio are going to have public contact information. I doubt he had her private email address.







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! 



Posted on CafeMom Mobile
moneysaver6
by Gold Member on Oct. 6, 2012 at 1:57 PM
I wondered that too when I saw his job description listed in the previous post.

I agree that this seems like some sort of mission for her (& her husband)...which is part of what leads me to believe that Mr. Krause's email was not the first.


Quoting Lizardannie1966:

Didn't someone else say he was a personal injury attorney? I know it's here in the thread somewhere. Now he's a security guard?

Nice of him to apologize and even "admit he bullied."

I still say he didn't bully, however and I stand by my opinion that this has not ended for her. This was some sort of mission on her part beyond the "awareness" of it all.

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Emilytrademark
by Bronze Member on Oct. 6, 2012 at 2:02 PM
2 moms liked this

To those saying "yeah, she could be healthier.." no shit. Everyone could be healthier. We could all drink more water, eat more organic, exercise more, meditate more.. blah blah blah. No person is perfect, obesity  is a large -scale (no pun intended) and definitely understandable problem in our culture. Most Americans are constantly fighting against it and it can be hard work. Nonetheless..

This woman's physical appearance has little impact on how she performs her job and no impact on molding our younger generation (as the criticizer suggests). This is simply another example of how modern civilization has transformed into an ego-centric, negative, destructive, small-minded, nasty group of people largely in part due to the anonymity and distancing-aspect of "social media."

 

Lizardannie1966
by on Oct. 6, 2012 at 2:46 PM

I completely agree.

She is a very pretty woman.

Quoting Emilytrademark:


This woman's physical appearance has little impact on how she performs her job and no impact on molding our younger generation (as the criticizer suggests). This is simply another example of how modern civilization has transformed into an ego-centric, negative, destructive, small-minded, nasty group of people largely in part due to the anonymity and distancing-aspect of "social media."

 


Lizardannie1966
by on Oct. 6, 2012 at 2:48 PM
1 mom liked this

Maybe she had finally had enough of negatively? That "straw" you were mentioning?

Looking at her pictures from the article most recently posted today about the apology, she is a true beauty, I feel.

Quoting moneysaver6:

I wondered that too when I saw his job description listed in the previous post.

I agree that this seems like some sort of mission for her (& her husband)...which is part of what leads me to believe that Mr. Krause's email was not the first.


Quoting Lizardannie1966:

Didn't someone else say he was a personal injury attorney? I know it's here in the thread somewhere. Now he's a security guard?

Nice of him to apologize and even "admit he bullied."

I still say he didn't bully, however and I stand by my opinion that this has not ended for her. This was some sort of mission on her part beyond the "awareness" of it all.


Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Oct. 6, 2012 at 5:24 PM

bump for new update

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)



Featured