Ashlee Baracy has been in the business long enough to know what happens when news anchors and reporters get pregnant.
“The sad part is the second I found out I was pregnant, I knew I would have to deal with criticism of my body by viewers,” Baracy told local paper The Columbus Dispatch. She had seen her coworkers go through it, and as a meteorologist, she knew her body would be on full display. What happened next was unsurprising and disheartening.
Comments started rolling in, on social media and email, about her body. Viewers made comments about her weight, clothes, health, going as far as telling her she looks “bloated and uncomfortable,” and even some trolls “worrying” about her heart. Instead of ignoring or quietly internalizing the comments, Baracy chose to clap back.
For a few months now, Baracy has been sharing some of the more absurd comments she’s received — both calling the commenters out and pointing out the cruelty of their words on her professional Facebook page. The comments manage to at once be preposterous, mean, and pointless. And Baracy hasn’t been shy about discussing that with her fans.
While the posts have gained wider attention after the Dispatch interviewed her early this week, Baracy’s loyal viewers have been following her pregnancy — and no-holds-barred response to trolls — for months. Back in March, their support led to Baracy penning a heartfelt message chronicling how she feels about her changing body, and it’s one we all need to hear.
“I love my growing body… it’s an outward symbol of the miracle inside me. The bigger it gets the healthier I know my baby is,” she wrote. But her choice to talk openly about any hate she’s received goes beyond just her own body or pregnancy journey.
“If a child hears their parent refer to someone on TV as ‘fat,’ what might the same child think of themselves when they look in the mirror, or how will they perceive others and treat them in the future?” Baracy asked on Today.
She hopes to be an example of confidence for her son, due in August.
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I chose this career because I believed it would give me a platform to make a difference… as a role model and a meteorologist. I never really considered how many different ways I would be able to make an impact, but hopefully this is one. Thank you, Ken Gordon, for such a wonderful article today in the @columbusdispatch. I was shocked to see it on the front page! I truly appreciate every #10TV viewer who has supported me and encouraged me throughout my pregnancy and let’s hope by shedding light on body-shaming that fewer people will deal with critics like this in the future, pregnant or not. Every time I have called out a hater, the overwhelming outpour of encouragement has been touching and incredibly inspiring. Thank you, Central Ohio. Most importantly, thank you for embracing and caring about my growing family.