Media using its power for good: Anchor stands up to her bully on live tv

Hi Double Chinners –

Have you all heard about Jennifer Livingston, the Wisconsin based news anchor who stood up to her bully on live TV? A man sent her an e-mail chiding her for being a bad role model, especially for young girls, for not “paying attention” to her health over the years and choosing to be an obese role model. I encourage you to watch her reply to this man below.

I can’t remember the last time I was so proud of the media for going against the norm and adding some PERSONALITY to the news. The media should use its power for good more often – in this woman’s case, reminding the public that nobody needs to back down in the face of a bully, and that we need to teach our children kindness and compassion. One more note – do you think that male anchors receive notes, e-mails and comments like this about their body size? Sure they do – but not nearly as much as females. Fat shaming needs to end, and in its place we can add in helpful and relevant information about healthy living like activity and diet. Kudos to Jennifer for standing up to her bully and for showing the world that while being female unfortunately means being critiqued on every single fiber of your being, you don’t have to fall victim to the harmful words others so casually throw about.

What do you think of Jennifer’s story? Do you think she’s “advocating for obesity” simply by being an overweight news anchor?

10 thoughts on “Media using its power for good: Anchor stands up to her bully on live tv

  1. I saw this on Jezebel earlier today and wanted to give her a hug/high-five for her reply. She’s a cool woman. That guy wins “concerntroll/ass of the year” award IMHO.

  2. I’ve been on both sides of the fence.

    My stance probably has more to do with which side I am on, rather than which side is “right”.

    I would say it’s the same for most people.

    But I do feel if a stranger’s words can wound someone so deeply, and make them that upset, and bring so many people together to rally, then there is something going on there.

    I will say this. Ultimately, obesity is a significant factor in health. It’s not the only factor, but it’s a damn significant one.

    You are not a flawed person because you are overweight, you are flawed because you are a person. And we are all flawed. We are all in this together.

    Using words like “battleground” and “war” etc. in any argument shows just how combative humans are, ready to fight instead of come to an understanding.

    In my opinion, I don’t think she really stood up to a bully as much as shown just how much of a rift there is in Western society between beliefs in how to approach what is becoming an epidemic.


    • Ryan, this is a really thoughtful reply. I agree with you about the different sides. While it’s an every day struggle admitting I am “unhealthy” (because I feel good!), I know that just because I feel a certain way doesn’t make it ok. Thanks for your comment and for reading!

  3. Telling someone you are unhealthy is not accurate being that people’s health can greatly range from person to person even two people at the same height and weight will be at different levels of health. Yes we human’s have flaws but being an overweight person is a visible flaw. It does not take a person of great character to point out something anyone can see with their own eyes. I believe this New’s Anchor is a role model. She isn’t going on tv to profess that she is the epitome of health. There will be always be naysayers we can choose not to listen. That includes your personal naysayer named ego. There is enough of the negative we can choose not to notice and spread more of the Joy!

    • Hi Kristin, great thoughts! It’s an interesting question to tackle – she’s a role model for media, news and women in a position of power, but shouldn’t be looked at as a role model for her image or appearance, another thing that always plagues women in the workplace. Thanks for reading and for commenting 🙂

  4. Great post! Thanks for commenting on this story. I think it so extremely sad when people want to comment about someone’s weight. I absolutely hate when anyone makes comment about other people, and my family and friends to this day still make comments regardless that I’ve asked them not to say those things about them.

    Even when you are annoyed, frustrated, or angry it makes you a shittay person when you refer to someone as a fat ass or telling someone to get up off their fat ass. Or critiquing an overweight person for eating something you feel is unhealthy…plain and simple it’s their life and their choices.

    It absolute enrages me when someone chooses to act that way. It really makes me angry when people who are overweight themselves or who have been overweight (and perhaps lost the weight) feel they are entitled to say those things because they are in a similar situation. It is 100% never okay to belittle someone for their weight.

    The only time (in my opinion) it’s okay to talk to someone about their weight is when you are concerned for their health. And at the point that person is going to be sensitive.

    Thanks again for posting about this story.

  5. I watched this video and was completely proud of her for saying something to the viewer. I find it interesting that he felt compelled to write the email even though he isn’t a frequent viewer. For all he knows she may have lost weight over the years and is healthier than before. She also has three children and that is not easy weight to lose, losing weight is hard in general. However, I think that while obesity is a growing problem and many people struggle with it, obesity if far more than exercise and self control. If you take into consideration those who struggle with weight because of the lack of proper food- due to cost, live in food deserts or simply the lack of healthy foods education, you have a set up for failure. Not everyone has equal access to the tools which lead to healthy living. I believe that there is personal responsibility as well as responsibility on a greater societal level. The weight of this one public figure is not the success or failure of her whole community. If that viewer really is bothered by the obesity issue or concerned with this woman’s health then why doesn’t he offer to lead a community weight loss program or give back in some way. Criticizing is easy to do but becoming an active support for change is where the real challenge lies. Good for Jennifer for standing up for herself and shame on that viewer for being an ass. It is a fine balance between personal and communal responsibility.

  6. I have been meaning to watch this video since I saw it on yahoo – thanks for posting!

    .. I am guilty of judging. I will admit it. I get it from my mother [who used every slur in the book when she was frustrated] And I will also admit that my internal mind has told me because I am a “former fatty” and have battled my weight issue that I have the “right” to have my judgement. However, I typically reserve my judgement for me and the occasional best friend who has to listen to my diarrhea of the mouth. And I think my judgement comes from my own personal experience in my life. We are all egotistical – it’s in our nature- and so we see ourselves in everyone we meet. I know that my weight problem came about because I hated eating healthy, loved fast food and could go into hives before I would bother to exercise. So now when I see someone who is no where near a healthy weight slurping down a super size gallon of soda, I will admit – I have my moment of judgement.

    That being said – I also do not take the time to write an email, blast on facebook/twitter, etc to said person. If I don’t know you, I know I should not judge you and that I have no right to my opinion without the facts. I know that I am basing my judgement solely on my opinions and life experience and should keep my mouth shut. So I do.

    Despite what she was attacked for I think the real lesson here [and I think she stated it quite well] was that no one has the right to be a bully and no one has to stand there and take someone picking on you. We all come in different shapes, sizes, colors and orientations and that is what makes this planet beautiful. We can all have our opinions but we should have the decency, common courtesy and respect to keep them to ourselves. Its like mom always said “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

    … I hope I don’t lose cool points. It’s hard for me to admit I am a “judge-y” person but hopefully I maintain something for knowing to keep my mouth shut!

  7. I completely support Jennifer! I agree with the commenter about obesity being such an issue, but I also believe that no one has the right to tell people they don’t know what they should or should not do. I think that we all have a responsibility to try to positively influence those around us- if you’re a teacher, your students; if you’re a parent, your children; if you’re an employer, your employees; if you’re a “star,” your fans. I don’t know that responsibility is the right word- I think you just know that your actions affect those you influence and that should make you, if you care about them, try to be the best you can be. If I was a news anchor, I’d want to be a good example- not get arrested, dress professionally, etc. Part of that would be worrying about my appearance, including weight. Responsibility? Still not the right word. I just think she probably does know that she influences people. But it was NOT the commenter’s job to bring it to her attention. I don’t think she really deserves applause for getting out there every day, but I think it’s probably on her mind, and she probably does care about her health- but who knows what is going on in her life!? WEIGHT LOSS IS HARD, YO. The commenter might have an easy go at it- or heck, he might work hard for 10 hours a day on his bod! But it’s not the same for everyone. Jennifer is a mom- she has children to support and raise! I think people need to just keep their thoughts to themselves. I don’t know about this being “bullying” (I think a lot of stuff is mislabeled bullying now that it’s such a hot topic) but I think it’s rudeness that is neither necessary nor appropriate. The internet and customer/company interactions have made people much more apt to share their opinions when in general, they are not as valuable as we may think, in these situations. I think he was in the wrong, but I also think she should have just ignored it or even just sent him a “thank you for your opinion, but you do not know me or my struggles. I appreciate you caring about my health (haha- although he clearly doesn’t put that first) and hope you will continue to watch the show.” I completely support her in bringing it up – because he was wrong to make those comments – but I don’t know that it was the right way to go, in the name of “bullying.”

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