News anchor responds to email from viewer criticizing her weight


by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalist ERIN COKER

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE

Posted on October 3, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 3 at 6:40 PM

An email to a TV news anchor is making national headlines. Now that news anchor is fighting back.

The female news anchor in Wisconsin is, in her own words, "overweight." However in a public editorial response she says the viewer who emailed criticizing her for setting a poor example for young women is nothing more than a bully.

"Luckily for me, I have a very think skin," said Jennifer Livingston, a morning anchor for WBKT.

Livingston was at times humorous but mostly strong and forceful in her response to an email she received from a viewer. The viewer admitted he watched the newscast infrequently.  His email read in part, "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."

"The truth is, I am overweight," said Livingston. "You could call me 'fat' and yes, even 'obese' on a doctor's chart."

The emailer added, "I leave you this note hoping that you'll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle."

Livingtson then fired back.

"You have admitted that you do not watch this show, so you know nothing about me other than what you see on the outside," said Livingston. "I am much more than a number on a scale."

Livingston says she suffers from a thyroid condition. She says even though she runs smaller triathlons and 5K races, she has not been able to lose weight.

"There are medical conditions that preclude you from losing weight," said Rebecca Posey, a registered nurse who is the director of St. David's Medical Center Bariatric Program. "Our thyroid is like a little butterfly that sits at the base of our neck, and it produces hormones that regulate our metabolism. If that is malfunctioning, then it's going to be a lot more difficult to lose that weight."

Livingston, a mother of three, says she views the emailer's comments as bullying. She ended her editorial asking viewers, including teenagers, not to let their self worth be defined by bullies.

"For taking a stand against this bully we are better than that email," she said. "We are better than the bullies that are trying to take us down."

Posey, herself at one time over 100 pounds overweight, understands and agrees with Livingston's bully assessment of the email.

Posey also says it's important women don't use certain medical conditions as an excuse when it comes to maintaining their health.