The hurtful attack on Jennifer Livingston’s weight was just plain mean

“Seriously?”

That is the first reaction that I had when I listened to Jennifer Livingston on NBC’s Today Show as I stood motionless in disbelief.  Too fat for TV, really?

Jennifer, a morning anchor at WKBT in La Crosse, WI, received an email that focused on her weight.   A very unkind letter sent through the Internet to this lovely mother of three.  An email regarding her appearance that she never imagined that she would be addressing on air.   Jennifer tried her best to laugh off the hurtful attack on her weight, but her colleagues and especially her husband, could not.  I completely understand why.  Here’s the email:

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.

I’m grateful that her husband would not allow her to laugh it off.   Mike Thompson demonstrated amazing support for his wife.  Mike, who is also a news anchor at the station, posted the email on his Facebook page  and received an overwhelming response supporting Jennifer.

The cruel words that Jennifer received regarding her appearance makes my eyes fill up with tears.  She’s in the public eye, so she understands that it’s normal to receive negative comments on occasion from a viewer, but that does not mean any person has the right to make comments like this about her weight.  Jennifer may have stated that she “tried to laugh it off” but those comments still hurt, a lot.  Being informed by this individual that her “physical condition hasn’t improved for many years” is more than just wrong, it’s just plain mean.

Jennifer responded on air by saying:  “I am overweight.  You can call me fat; and yes, even obese on a doctor’s chart.  Do you think I don’t know that?”

I spoke the same words when I was morbidly obese.   Allow me to confirm Jennifer’s comments.  If a person has a weight issue, they know it. Don’t feel any obligation to inform them of it … please.

Jennifer also acknowledged that October is National Bullying Prevention month and is encouraging communities to rise above people who bully others, such as the individual who wrote this nasty email.  She encouraged people to teach your children “to be kind, not critical and we need to do that by example.”  Let’s all remember this heartfelt request made by her.

“I am much more than a number on a scale.” You said it, Jennifer.  I know I still am and I know you are too.  So is everyone else who has a weight issue!

Would you have reacted the same way as Jennifer if you received an email like the one she did?

Photo credit: MDGovpics

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