Overweight anchor: ‘It’s not a weight issue.’

Jennifer Livingston, the La Crosse, Wis., TV anchor who fought back on the air against an emailer who objected to her weight, made the TV talk-show circuit today, a day after her video response went viral (and I wrote about it here).

The most interesting new point she made was that she invited Kenneth Krausse, the La Crosse man who sent the email, onto her show to discuss what he wrote. He demurred.

“It’s not a weight issue,” she said on CBS this morning. “It’s about bullying.”

Krause isn’t backing off. 

“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.”

Meanwhile, WKBT reports the issue has hit home for many families.

  • Heather

    I wonder why he won’t show himself.

  • BJ

    “why he won’t show himself.”

    At this point I’m sure he is afraid of being bullied. 🙂

    Don’t mean to be a Evil Vile Troll but have to comment on the interview.

    Gayle King thought is was ok to ask about her weight. What a horrible question, and the lead up – it’s ok that I ask this because I’m a member of Jenny Craig. Stupid. If the question was a valid one it doesn’t need the lead up.

    Ok the question was on valid, the letter did talk about her weight, it was just the lead up to it that made it very weird. Also can Gayle stop mumbling during your guests answer. They assume you are actually listing so ‘active listing’ isn’t required.

    Then Gayle getting the entertainment angle in by pointing out that her brother is a “famous” actor. That was useful. We can’t form our opinion until we hear what the famous actor said.


    Jennifer did good. Only seemed thrown by the brother question at the end.

  • David

    If he did show himself would you comment on his looks?

  • Bob Collins

    I once had a dream that Gayle King did an editorial about someone who wrote her a letter suggesting she’s a lightweight journalist who got her gig because she’s a friend of Oprah’s.

    But give her points to putting “Jenny Craig” into the discussion, with whom she’s had a business relationship.

  • Thomas Mercier

    I’ve followed this only at a fairly high level but I seem to be falling closer in line with Krause than with Livingston.

    I myself am overweight and in the past have been bullied about things. But are we so afraid of bullying that we’ll reproach an educated appeal to provide a positive image of health? Is encouraging and supportive peer pressure really the same thing as bullying? Krause made no effort to belittle Livingston other than to question if she was providing the best example of health for her community.

    Livingston is a good example of a journalist by the sounds of it but let’s face it. She is not a good example of physical fitness. She does not need to feel ashamed or have a low self-esteem because of this but she, as should all adults, should consider how we present ourselves to the increasingly obese youth around us. There is no shame in being fat, the shame is in accepting that it is what it is and not acknowledging that it could be better.

    P.S. in the sake of full disclosure I’m embarrassed that I ate too many muffins this morning for breakfast.

  • Disco

    I avoided it yesterday, but I’ll say it now.

    This is not bullying. And given all the media and legislative attention given bullying lately, Jennifer Livingston, a news reporter, ought to know that.

    Bullying is a chronic thing between two people who know each other. A one-time email from a private citizen to a local TV personality does not constitute bullying.

    No one seemed to address my point yesterday about how this issue involves our acceptance (or lack thereof) of obesity. What Krausse said was not nice, but is our society becoming more accepting of obesity? And what does that mean for our health?

  • Kim E

    In another interview that I saw Ms. Livingston give this morning on the news, she said that she has received many comments over the years about her weight. But, she stressed that she was particularly hurt this time because Mr. Krause said she was a bad role model for young people, especially girls. She didn’t think that was fair, and I have to agree. From what I know of the story, she seems to be a confident, intelligent, poised woman who is a visible award-winning journalist in her field. From that standpoint at least, I do believe she is someone that her 3 daughters and other young girls can and should look up to.

  • John O.

    I wonder if the author of the e-mails to Ms. Livingston would send the same e-mail to B.J. Raji of the Green Bay Packers and substitute the word “boys” for “girls”?

    According to NFL.com, Mr. Raji is 6’2″, 337 pounds.

  • Cara

    Good point John O.

    Being overweight isn’t, in and of itself, an indicator of poor health.

  • Kurt Nelson

    What gets lost is the fact that because she is on TV, she needs to be hot, and if she fails to be hot and excite all the men watching, she has failed and needs to leave the profession. Of course Krause did not debate her, he is a punk, who undoubtedly is less than a perfect physical specimen, but since this women failed to meet his high standards of sexual appeal, he can sit on the sidelines and lob cheap shots – what a douche

  • Suzanne

    From what I have read, the man who sent the email called on the news anchor to choose another profession because of her weight. While this may not be bullying, it is incredibly sexist. Many people have publicly commented on Chris Christie’s weight, but nobody has called on him (that I know of) to step down because of it. If Christie were to have a heart attack or some other medical emergency due to his weight, it would affect the entire state of New Jersey. That is more of a public concern than how a news anchor/reporter’s weight affects her health, but my guess is that it’s fine for Christie to be fat because he’s a man.

  • Disco


    False analogy.

    BJ Raji is big because he’s an athlete. If the guy across the ball from him is bigger, Raji gets killed and the Pack loses.

    Size doesn’t matter with TV news anchors.

  • Kat

    It’s easy to sound intelligent on the internet by using Microsoft word’s spell check and thesaurus, It actually takes real intelligence and common sense to send a good message. Hopefully he now realizes that no one is talking about the message he was attempting to convey, but more on how he decided to express that message. It’s funny that the actual message he ended up conveying was that no one likes a cyber bully. Maybe he should consider getting off the computer and actually socializing with real people, then he would understand how to communicate with the world in the correct way. Then people would actually respect his opinions and the translation into his message wouldn’t be discarded.

  • Really!

    @ Disco

    You half missed the issue – BJ Raji is technically OBESE he is overweight by over 120lb for his height, I am not suggesting he is unfit or unhealthy, just obese..my medical standards.

    The Half you got right is SIZE DOESN’T MATTER with NEWS ANCHORS – it’s what they report on now how they “look” to you! Her example is content not trappings.