Wisconsin News Anchor Takes on Weight Bully

This woman is terrific! Today, a news anchor from LaCrosse, WI responded to an email directed at her appearance and her weight. It is a fantastic response and I hope everyone takes a moment to view this lady's response.


Transcript here, since the Closed Captioning has way too many flaws:

I want to take a moment to address a situation that has become a talking point in this community over the past week an especially on Facebook that centers around me. On Friday, I received the following email from a Lacrosse man with the subject line “Community Responsibility” and that reads as follows:

“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 will reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.”

Now, those of us in the media, we get a healthy dose of critiques from our viewers throughout the year and we realize that it comes with having a job in the public eye. But this email was more than that. While I tried my best to laugh off the very hurtful attack on my appearance, my colleagues could not do the same, especially my husband, our six and ten anchor, Mike Thompson. Mike posted this email on his WKBT Facebook page and what happened next has been truly inspiring.

Hundreds and hundreds of people have taken the time out of their day to not only lift my spirits but take a stand that attacks like this are not okay. Now, we’re going to have more on that in just a second. But first, 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 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 you don’t even 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.

And here is where I want all of us to learn something from this: If you didn’t already know, October is national anti-bullying month and this is a problem that is growing everyday in our schools and on the internet. It is a major issue in the lives of young people today. And as the mother of three young girls, it scares me to death.

Now, I am a grown woman and luckily for me, I have a very thick skin, literally, as that email pointed out, and otherwise and that man’s words mean nothing to me. But what really angers me about this is there are children who don’t know better, who get emails as critical as the one I received or in many cases even worse each and every day. The internet has become a weapon, our schools have become a battleground, and this behavior is learned. It is passed down from people like the man who wrote me that email. If you were at home and you were talking about the fat news lady, guess what? Your children are probably going to go to school and call someone fat. We need to teach our kids how to be kind, not critical and we need to do that by example. So many of you have come to my defense over the past four days, I am literally overwhelmed by your words.

To my colleagues and my friends from today and from years ago, my family, my amazing husband, and so many of you out there that I will probably never have the opportunity to meet, I will never be able to thank you enough for your words of support. And for taking a stand against this bully, we are better than that email. We are better than the bullies that would try to take us down.

And I leave you with this: To all of the children out there who feel lost, who are struggling with your weight, with the color of your skin, your sexual preference, your disability, even the acne on your face, listen to me right now. Do not let your self-worth be defined by bullies. Learn from my experience that the cruel words of one are nothing compared to the shouts of many. We’ll be right back.


Wow! She's taken a great stand.

I agree, AR! I have to give her a lot of kudos for having the courage to talk about this issue while on the air!

Thanks for sharing this. Every time I think about being critical of someone who is overweight, I’m going to slap me over the head and watch this video again.

Without getting weepy or anything, she sounds tough, strong and engaged.

One of the last areas where it still seems to be relatively "OK" to bully people who are overweight for their size! I hate to admit this, but I've also gotten highly critical at times of overweight people and I should know better. I've been there myself! I hope this can be a reminder to us all about the issue of size bullying -- me included.

I just watched it on YouTube, and wanted to post a comment in support of her, but sadly all comments have been removed and closed. I remember watching Karen Kline on YouTube (the bus monitor in Greece, NY who was bullied by middle school boys saying among other things that she is fat)and all the vulgar, nasty comments following that, directed at the students. What the boys did was wrong, but by posting those nasty comments, the bullying continues.

Anyway, kudos to Jennifer for making this statement on the air. It is such a teachable moment for parents to share with their children.

She was on the Today Show this morning.