Television anchor Jennifer Livingston of WKBT-TV stands up to bullying in a video shared by Todd Wasserman on Mashable.com.
As related by Wasserman, Livingston read a letter from a viewer who took issue with the fact that she is overweight:
“‘Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain,’ the viewer wrote. ‘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, fellow WKBT anchor Mike Thompson, posted the emailed letter on his Facebook Page and received an outpouring of support. Emboldened by this, Livingston singled the writer out as a bully. ‘The truth is I am overweight,’ Livingston said. ‘You can call me fat and yes, even obese on a doctor’s chart. To the person who wrote me that letter, do you think I don’t know that? Your cruel words are pointing out something 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 admitted that you don’t watch this show so you know nothing about me besides what you see on the outside — and I am much more than a number on a scale.’
“She continued: ‘We are better than that bully. We are better than this email. We are better than the bullies that would try to take us down.’”It disturbs me, reading comments that were left in response to this video, that an incident of bullying should be minimized, particularly by someone self-identifying as having been bullied in the past.
I also do not accept the excuse that Livingston’s public status makes it OK to attack her, any more than any other rationale advanced for blaming the victim.
As stated by respondent Charlene Martin, “It’s none of anyone else’s business as to how much she weighs, only how well she’s doing her job.” And the writer of the email, who does not watch the show, was in no position to do that.
My thanks to Livingston for standing up to bullying and my thanks as well to a Record-Bee co-worker for sharing a link to the video on the Record-Bee Facebook page.