Jennifer Livingston, a local news anchor in Wisconsin, recently took a harsh bit of criticism from a viewer and spun it on its ear, giving an on-air response which was so eloquent, the clip has now gone viral and is getting rave reviews from total strangers.
Livingston received an email from someone who admitted they weren’t a fan of the show and didn’t watch often, but still had some choice words to say about the way she looks.
Hi Jennifer, 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 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.
Livingston addressed the email on-air, chastising the writer for focusing on the physical attributes of someone they didn’t even know, and for promoting the ideals of a bully to the impressionable minds around them.
“Now those of us in the media, we 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. The truth is: I am overweight. 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? That your cruel words are pointing out something that I don’t see? 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. So you know nothing about me but what you see on the outside. And I am much more than a number on the scale.”
She went on to say, “If you are at home and talking about the fat news lady, guess what: Your children are probably going to go to school and call someone fat.”
After pointing out that October is Anti-Bullying Month, Livingston concluded with, “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.”
If Jennifer had any doubts that her message would be heard, they can be laid to rest now. The station’s Facebook page has been flooded with posts supporting and thanking her for her response.