TV Anchor from Marion Responds to Letter Saying She is Not 'Suitable Example' Because of Weight: Best of 2012
Jennifer Livingston challenged the letter and made a powerful point about where children learn to bully others.
Editor's Note: As the year winds down, Waukee Patch is looking back at some of the stories that made you talk, cry, laugh or just scratch your head.
- By Scott Raynor
- October 7, 2012
A Marion-raised TV anchor responded to a letter claiming she wasn't "a suitable example," because of her weight.
Jennifer Livingston, the anchor for WKBT News 8, the CBS affiliate in La Crosse, WI, was the subject of the harsh letter.
"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," read the letter, which the station made public.
The letter, and perhaps more so Livingston's response, has spread across the Internet on news sites and social media with viral speeds.
"The truth is I am overweight, you can call me fat and even obese," told viewers in an on-air segment.
Then Livingston, who is the sister of actor Ron Livingston, turned her attention to the writer of the letter.
"Do you think you I don’t know that that your cruel letters pointed out things you don’t see?" she said, adding. "You know nothing about me but what you see on the outside.”
She went on to say that her thick skin, which she referred to both colloquially in an effort to self-deprecate, means that the letter didn’t devastate her self-esteem.
At this point, she turns the attention of the viewers away from writer’s comments and towards bullying, an issue "that scares me to death," the mother of three said.
"There are children who don’t know better," she said, later adding, "If you don’t and you are talking about the fat news lady, guess what? Your children are probably going to school and call someone fat.”
Across the Web, people are praising Livingston's response. Nearly each site I visited was littered with positive feedback, ranging from calling her inspirational, beautiful and brave, to self-admissions of commentators shedding tears at her words.
"What an inspiring response! Jennifer, you are a beautiful human being and I will being showing your well-spoken response to this bully's ugliness to my high school choir this morning," said Facebook user Sarah Severson. "Thank you for being an incredible role model! :)"
Livingston thanked coworkers, those who commented in support of her on a Facebook page before the broadcast.
She said that the overwhelming response she's received is proof enough to those that are bullied, that despite any negative comments they may receive, there are many more people that support you.
"To all of the children out there who of feel lost, who are struggling with your weight the color of your skin, your sexual preference, your disability, even the acne on your face," she said. "Listen to me. 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."