A TV news anchor in Wisconsin received a letter attacking her weight, and she decided to turn it into a positive moment, promoting National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month.
A TV news anchor in Wausau, Wisconsin, decided to fight back after receiving a letter from a man attacking her appearance and her weight. Jennifer Livingston received the letter last week and chose to ignore it.
In part, the letter read, “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.”
But Livingston’s husband, another anchor with the station, could not ignore it, and posted the letter on his Facebook page. “I’ve posted about negative e-mails the station has received in the past, but this one, delivered specifically to my wife, morning anchor Jennifer Livingston, has just infuriated me,” he 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.”
There were hundreds of responses to the post, and Livingston decided to go on the air and respond to the man who wrote the letter. “Yes, the truth is, I am overweight,” she said. “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… And I am much more than a number on a scale.”
Livingston decided to time her response so that it coincided with National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month so that she could take the chance to remind people what effect their words have, especially on children.
“That man’s words mean nothing to me, but what really angers me about this is there are children who don’t know better — who get e-mails as critical as the one I received, or in many cases, even worse, each and every day,” she continued. “To all of the children out there who feel lost, who are struggling with your weight, with the color of 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. Learn from my experience that the cruel words of one are nothing compared to the shouts of many.”
Livingston has received an outpouring of support since her husband posted the letter, which convinced her to talk about it on the air. She and her husband both continue to receive positive comments on Facebook.