During Tuesday morning’s live broadcast, a news anchor for La Crosse, Wisc. CBS affiliate WKBT confronted a bully who attacked her for being overweight in an email to the station.
The author of the email claimed that because of her “physical condition,” Jennifer Livingston is not a “suitable example” for the community’s young people.
Here is part of the viewer’s letter:
“I was surprised 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’s husband, Mike Thompson, one of the station’s news anchors, posted the ugly letter on his Facebook page last week, saying it made him “sick to his stomach” and “infuriated.”
“While I tried my best to laugh off the very hurtful attack on my appearance, my colleagues could not do the same,” Livingston said on Tuesday.
But something amazing resulted from the disgusting personal attack, she explained. She said hundreds of people have taken time out of their day to life her spirits and spoke out against bullies who attack others.
“The truth is, I am overweight,” Livingston began. “You can 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?”
She continued: “You don’t know me. You are not a friend of mine. You are not a part of my family, and you have admitted you don’t watch this show. You know nothing about me but what you see on the outside, and I am much more than a number on a scale.”
Livingston went on to prove her attacker completely wrong and used the incident to reach out to bullied children, pointing out that October is anti-bullying month.
“We need to teach our children how to be kind, not critical,” she said. “We need to do that by example.”
“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,” she added.
For what it’s worth, it is clear that Livingston is more than a “suitable example” for any community.
Watch Livingston call out her bully on the air via WKBT: