The TV Anchor and the Critic

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At Findlaw, find a discussion of tv anchor Jennifer Livingston’s allegations that attorney (well, now there seems to be some question about whether he’s an attorney or a security guard) and fitness advocate Kenneth Krause bullied her via an email in which he told her in part:

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’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.

The Findlaw commentator, Deanne Katz, asks whether what Mr. Krause wrote rises to the level of cyberbullying, the claim that Ms. Livingston raises in her response to Mr. Krause’s email criticisms.

Ms. Livingston’s husband Mark Thompson, an anchor at the same station, WBKT in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, has defended her, as has the station. She has also responded in this video, available via this Forbes article and via other sites. She says in part,

The truth is I am overweight. 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….

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.

She has appeared on several network morning shows to discuss the effect of Mr. Krause’s communication on her as well.

For his part, Mr. Krause remains steadfast in his opinion that Ms. Livingston should lose weight, although whether to make herself more attractive as media eye candy, to make herself a symbol to children or to make herself more healthy, or all three is unclear. He issued this statement:

Given this country’s present epidemic of obesity and the many truly horrible diseases related thereto, and considering Jennifer Livingston’s fortuitous position in the community, I hope she will finally take advantage of a rare and golden opportunity to influence the health and psychological well-being of Coulee Region children by transforming herself for all of her viewers to see over the next year, and, to that end, I would be absolutely pleased to offer Jennifer any advice or support she would be willing to accept.

Want to see what Mr. Krause looks like? Here he is, complete with bike helmet and tattoo. He now says he “never meant to hurt” Ms. Livingston.

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One Response to The TV Anchor and the Critic

  1. Q. Pheevr says:

    I think Krause’s e-mail was rude, presumptuous, and thoroughly inappropriate. By itself, I don’t think it constitutes bullying or harassment, although a repeated pattern of such messages would. In his follow-up statement, Krause seems to be (a) beginning to establish such a pattern, (b) completely missing the point, and (c) also missing an excellent opportunity to shut up.

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