Jennifer Livingston, La Crosse TV anchor, responds on air to man who called her obese [VIDEO]

jennifer livingston.jpeg
We'd like to see the guy taking umbrage with Livingston's appearance.
Jennifer Livingston, a TV anchor/reporter for the CBS affiliate in La Crosse, Wisconsin, is comfortable in her own skin. But an infrequent male viewer of her morning show is uncomfortable about her skin and what's directly underneath it.

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The viewer sent Livingston a letter basically asking her to lose a few pounds, prompting her to reply with an epic four minute-plus diatribe that ran on live TV this morning.

First, via Romenesko, here's the letter that got Livingston so worked up:
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.

Sure[ly] 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.
Here's a partial transcript of the response Livingston offered up this morning, following by the raw footage:
[Since my husband posted the letter on Facebook] hundreds of people have taken time out of their day to not only lift my spirits but take a stand that attacks like this are not okay...

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 a scale.

Now, I am a grown woman, and luckily for me, I have a very thick skin, literally, as that email pointed out, and otherwise.


You have to admire Livingston for owning her overweightness, but it appears she's forgotten the first rule of modern journalism -- don't feed the trolls.


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34 comments
speakup
speakup

well, i think he was wrong to even say that, not a friend would say it to another friend, hes not her doctor, so wot gives him the right to say it??  did she ask him in the first place? no, he was just downright rude....and he still didnt have any manners to refrain wot he said....lawyer or not, why doesnt he say it to his clients or the judge?? perhaps a security guard when hes in court...but hes not a doctor, so he has no right to suggest, advise or anyting like that unless it was asked...thanks for this...am behind you jennifer....he was still wrong..no matter how they look at it...

demji
demji

There are several things I find interesting about this story:  1)  that some person who doesn't even know Mrs. Livingston and isn't a friend or family member, somehow felt he / she had a right--a compulsion and entitlement even--to make personal comments and hand out advice to a stranger.  2)  that this person very specifically underscored that "girls in particular" were damaged by her presence on the airwaves.  I suppose that's because weak-minded females just can't think, or make good decisions for themselves?  No kudos to be  given to Mrs. Livingston's journalistic skills, self-confidence, public-service or other really girl-validating qualities?   3) that this person evidently views himself / herself as a self-appointed monitor and validator of what is appropriate to be presented to other people.  4) That this whole sophmoric and despicable commentary has apparently  given a lot of people with an  IQ less than their shoe size, and a huge mean streak, the green light to weigh in with their own take on Mrs. Livingston, her weight, her lifestyle and anything else they can think of.  'Never mind that they, too, don't even know the woman.  I suppose "nasty, petty, judgemental--and totally dimwitted"-- is the new creed for America.This whole scenario is wrong on sooooooo many levels it's hard to even begin wrapping one's mind around it, and Mrs. Livingston's weight--which I consder to be strictly between her and her doctor, and no one else's business--isn't even a pebble in the pile of things to consider.

kmm181818
kmm181818

I don't think this comment was meant to hurt her but help her. And she should lead by example since she chose to put her self in the public light. But the same can be said for any male newscaster who is over weight

Amber Carter
Amber Carter

I know what the caption was meant to reflect. The point is that it completely dismisses the brave stance that this woman took, and more than that, it totally misses the point. This wasn't about some anonymous flamer trying to antagonize someone for the fun of it. Livingston took a public stance against the insinuation that because of her appearance she is a poor role model, and she did so to speak out against bullying and support others who may find themselves in the same position. Disregarding those actions by smugly ending your article with "don't feed the trolls" (and by the way, it's actually not the first rule of "modern journalism") is irresponsible and insensitive. I get the style that City Pages tries to adopt when you cover stories, and for the most part, I like it. But every once in a while, you lose credibility by being dismissive or snarky when you should be intelligent and thoughtful.

C-NationAteYoCheez
C-NationAteYoCheez

Fucking Love Wisconsin! Go Jennifer! Only in La Crosse does a curvy lady such as yourself get on TV! And your producer was cool enough to let you respond to one of your viewers! Awesoooooommmmmmeeee! I hope your career takes off after your stint in La Crosse!

 

P.S. regarding comments about being a "role model" - It's not about how big, small, tall, how fugly you are, it's about your dedication to a profession that is slowly melting into a sycophant and stenography abyss.....Journalism and freedom of speech are a few of the last rights we american's have, lets support our professionals with encouragement to ask the really tought questions and expose corruption - P.S.S my P.S. is longer than my first paragraph.

City Pages Minneapolis
City Pages Minneapolis

Thanks for your feedback, Amber! We admire Livingston's dedication to her message and helping others. Our caption's intent was to reflect the sentiment at the end of the article, an often-used phrase used amongst participants in online forums in regards to people ("trolls") sending inflammatory comments to stir up trouble.

fatisbad
fatisbad

She chooses to abuse her body by being obese, that's fine. But I wonder how she and all her supporters would feel if an anchor person stood up there with a cigarette in their mouth. Smokers have rights as much as she but they are not considered bullied. Obesity has replaced smoking as the worst self-inflicted hazard to ones health. Let's talk about that.

Amber Carter
Amber Carter

City Pages, I'd like to suggest rethinking your caption for this update. At best, it hints at a superior attitude that she shouldn't have responded to this man. At worst, it can be taken to mean something much more mean and offensive. Sometimes it's okay to write something that's sensitive towards the material you're sharing - nobody's going to cancel their subscription because you took the high road.

goldens
goldens

She should say who the message came from maybe if these haters were identified and confronted they would think twice about posting such moronic things! Call them out ! If you want to act with no moral compass you should be treated the same way.

buehler740
buehler740

I loved how you stood up to person who attempted to hurt you about your weight, shame on them for doing that. You showed them with your response that you are a beautiful person! You are awsome in my book:)

FedUpOfMorons
FedUpOfMorons

ooofa, what a fatty fat ass, just have another big mac and quit crying

shay
shay

For all of you out there that are judging, shame on you.  NO ONE HAS the RIGHT to judge some one.  SO until you walk in their shoes, wear their skin, wear their weight or try to function with their disability what ever it is, you need to be quite.  Everyone has issues and  no one is excluded.  Everyone just needs to learn to respect each other and treat others like you want to be treated.  I can guarantee you that no one wants to be judged, and belittled.

queenbee
queenbee

Thank you Jennifer for being so comfortable in your own skin and not letting the comments of that twit get to you! Not everyone is meant to be a size 2! People that make comments such as that are not happy and look for things to break everyone else down. Thank you for not breaking.

And to the person that wrote the message, I hope that your children stay a size 2 and are not teased ever about weight, looks or anything else...because, hopefully you've lived long enough to know that what goes around comes right back around.

keny1
keny1

What is the big deal?  She is a fatty.  Does she really care what people think of her?  No.  So let her continue to eat double bacon double cheeseburgers with onion rings fried in lard with a "small diet Coke" on the side.  Who really cares?  She is a fatty and she likes being one.  You go girl!  I just hope when she has sex with her husband, she doesn't lay on top of him.  But then, he may be a fatty himself.  So they just float on top of each other's fattiness.  Fatties: When a 24-pack of White Castles are not enough.  

lukestark15
lukestark15

The problem here is that she doesn't address the point of this guy's email at all, which was that obesity is not a good thing.  Bullying is not nice, but it's not a leading cause of preventable death in the US.  Obesity is.  Also, the guy's email, though apparently hard for her to deal with,  was directed to her, not publicly ridiculing her, and written without the use of mean spirited jibes or inflammatory language.  She turned this into a crusade against bullying and the resultant outcries of support in the form of "you're a beautiful inspiration, Jennifer!" are, unfortunately, doing nothing but perpetuating a very dangerous sentiment that it's OK to be fat.  That, if you're obese, instead of taking actions to improve your health and reduce your risks for heart attack, high cholesterol, hypertension, clogged arteries, poor circulation, etc, that you should do nothing, but instead embrace "who you are," as a beautiful fat person.  This is a phenomenon unique to America and is why a greater percentage of US citizens are obese than anywhere else in the world, and why within that percentage we see the most shocking extremes of morbid obesity.

 

Another leading cause of preventable death is tobacco smoke.  Like most cases of obesity, smoking is a lifestyle choice that is hazardous to your health.  But if she had been smoking a cigarette on the air, and a viewer wrote a letter questioning whether she thought smoking on the air was a responsible thing to do, I doubt that she would have turned the tables on him and said, "love me everyone, for being a smoker, and attack this nasty man for bullying me for being a smoker!"  

 

The fact that she avoided any acknowledgement that obesity is a bad thing, and instead focused this on bullying, on the importance of loving herself for "who she is," was an irresponsible thing to do in terms of the obesity epidemic in the US.  If someone chooses to be obese, that is entirely their decision, but you can't throw it in other peoples faces and try to perpetuate the sentiment that a very unhealthy lifestyle choice is OK, no more than a smoker should.

srd7bb
srd7bb

Kenehan, Jennifer here needs a LOT more help that the "stick people" on other news stations. Those "stick people" are actually healthy and visually appealing. This is the exact reason the rest of the world views Americans as fat slobs...because people like you accept obesity as something that can't be controlled. Anybody who eats a healthy diet and exercises even a little bit would never look like this. People get to Jennifer's size by living a completely unhealthy lifestyle. If she has any motivation she could lose the extra weight but apparently she doesn't care and it's a lot easier for her to continue her unhealthy lifestyle with fools like you telling her its OK.

Debbi
Debbi

I applaud Jennifer for standing up and speaking out.  I am a full figured woman and there is a lot of bullying and its got to stop.  We are all humans of all shapes, sizes, races etc.  Hurting someones feeling is hurtful and shows the bully how stupid and insensitive this person is.  I think you do your job well and dress appropriately then size should not matter.  From a person on her side.

irish2992
irish2992

WOW!  WHAT A WONDERFUL, STRONG, INSPIRING WOMAN YOU ARE JENNIFER LIVINGSTON.   I THINK YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL,  MORE ON THE INSIDE THAN OUT...BECAUSE,  I HAVE TO TELL YOU, IF ANYONE HAD SENT ME THAT E-MAIL,  I WOULD HAVE EXPLODED, VERBALLY AND MENTALLY AND PROBABLY WOULD HAVE GONE OUT IN SEARCH OF THE IMBICILE,    WITH THE INTENTION OF INFLICTING MORE THAN JUST VERBAL ABUSE.   GOD BLESS YOUR COOL DEMEANOR AND COMPOSURE,  FOR THAT I  ADMIRE YOU TREMENDOUSLY!     SADLY THE WORLD IS FULL OF IDIOTS.........BUT THANKFULLY. KARMA IS A BITCH!

True Allison
True Allison

No I think this man is obsessed about looks and I for one have my priorities in tact and looks aren't the most important thing to me AND I have a life and am not stressing over some local newscasters weight. She's a woman and she's on camera all day, she knows what she looks like.If you don't like it turn the channel, I'm sure Jennifer could care less.

kenehan
kenehan

Jennifer, I enjoy seeing your face every day on TV!!! I love your personality and the way you deliver the news. I find it refreshing to see a real person on TV instead of a stick person who needs help...please don't let that man hurt your feelings!!! I find you beautiful and very intelligent...so sad that people are so shallow....your self and your husband should be so proud of you!!! :)

 

NewJenniferFan
NewJenniferFan

Jennifer, You are inspirational. First I was angry reading the email that he sent you. Then I got the chills from your touching speech. By the end my eyes were welling up. Few people possess the power, ability and timing to reach people with an idea that can change lives. If you convinced one person to watch their mouth, you may help create a chain reaction. <3 Keep being amazing. You just gained a new fan! ^_^

Erica Anderson
Erica Anderson

Want to bet that troll is no Richard Simmons himself either and just projecting his self-loathing on Jennifer?

DavidFoureyes
DavidFoureyes topcommenter

No. "Don't feed the trolls" is the modern equivalent of nodding politely at the idiot in the room while looking around at your friends with the, "can you believe this fucking moron?" eyes.

BatmanJesus
BatmanJesus

Sorry, but "Don't feed the trolls" is just a modern way of telling people to shut up. Feed the trolls, Jennifer. You have a voice; use it.

True Allison
True Allison

Of course if she were a big guy on the news no one would say anything

meesh427
meesh427

Good for her!  Why can't people just mind their own business?  No one cares what trolls think.

msummers5
msummers5

 @fatisbad She's not going to give someone an asthma attack or lung cancer with her second-had obesity. 

FedUpOfMorons
FedUpOfMorons

 @shay what about a Judge? does he have the right? you are a typical leftie crybaby who cant handle the truth

srd7bb
srd7bb

@lukestark15 Well said sir.

shay
shay

For your information not ALL fat people are fat by choice.   Also there are large people in this world that do live a healthy life style.  So oh wise one do not judge and unless you were to wear some one's skin, weight, disability or walk in their shoes.

kamaas
kamaas

@srd7bb And you are so perfect, right? This really isn't about weight but the fact that people are all human beings. Believe it or not, some people don't label people as "fat slobs." I have made it a mission not to judge others and have found it be refreshing. I haven't met a perfect person yet, but I know a lot of good people.

srd7bb
srd7bb

@kamaas It's really not judging someone when you can look at them or have them examined by a medical professional and find physical evidence that they are obese. Jennifer's rant was apparently about bullying and how people should be better role models for future generations. It's a good point but its precisely the same point the gentleman that sent the email was making. He simply stated that Jennifer was not setting a good example for future and even present generations by choosing to live an unhealthy lifestyle. He called her out on it and her only response was to essentially repeat what he said.

shay
shay

Just becasue she is over weight doesn't mean that her life style is unhealthy.  People are judging by a person's apperance what is going on in their life.  That is so wrong, rude, and judgemental.

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