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Reporter Responds to Weight Criticism

A Wisconsin reporter says a viewer's e-mail criticizing her weight was an act of bullying.

A reporter at the La Crosse, Wisc.-based WKBT-TV has gained national notoriety for responding on-air to a viewer who sent a critical email about her weight.

Jennifer Livingston used four minutes of a newscast Tuesday to call out the email's author, whom she did not name, for criticizing her for being overweight and declaring her a bad role model for espousing an unhealthy lifestyle.

WKBT Reporter Jennifer Livingston. Courtesy of Facebook.
WKBT Reporter Jennifer Livingston. Courtesy of Facebook.

The Associated Press reports that Kenneth Krause wrote the e-mail and that he does not think it constitutes an act of bullying.

Livingston disagrees, and says her segment was aimed not only at challenging Krause for his cruel letter but also to support children, such as her own three daughters, who might face the wrath of bullies.

Livingston's segment has spawned a flurry of support via social media and she made several national television appearances Wednesday, including an interview on "Good Morning America."

There has been some backlash about whether the viewer's e-mail constitutes bullying. Writer Stephanie Hanes of The Christian Science Monitor wrote that calling Krause's email an act of bullying distracted from and even silenced the overall objectionable parts of his letter, particularly the underlying sexism.

Livingston says the aim of her segment was to bring light to the power of words and the harmful consequences for children who are sensitive to harsh criticism.

"For me, it's not about him," she said. "It's about the culture of emails like his that not only come to us as journalists but to people all over the place and especially to our kids."

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