October 3, 2012
Jennifer Livingston, a local news anchor for “WKBT News 8 This Morning” in La Crosse, Wisconsin, recently responded on-air to a viewer’s attack on her weight. Livingston received an email from a male viewer who claimed she was not a "suitable example" for young girls because of her weight and that she should reconsider her responsibility as a local public personality to present a healthy lifestyle.
In her on-air response, Livingston stated that she was "much more than a number on the scale." She then turned the discussion of her weight into a message against bullying, noting that October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, and encouraged youth not to let their self-worth be defined by bullies.
“The remarkable and courageous response from Jennifer Livingston is inspiring," said Rebecca Puhl, PhD, Rudd Center Director of Research and Weight Stigma Initiatives. "At a time when weight-based bullying is more widespread toward overweight youth than ever before, her message is one that should be repeated in classrooms across the country. We live in a society where bullying individuals about their weight has become socially acceptable, and we must increase efforts to put a stop to this pervasive, damaging, and unfair treatment. Jennifer Livingston is an admirable example for young people and should be commended for taking a public stand against bullying.”