Bullied News Anchor's Brother? Ron Livingston
Brother calls her 'role model;' critic Kenneth Krause responds
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2012 12:18 PM CDT
Updated Oct 7, 2012 7:54 AM CDT
Ron Livingston, shown in this Oct. 23, 2006 file photo, will star in Neil LaBute's drama "In a Dark Dark House,'' opening June 7 at off-Broadway's Lucille Lortel Theatre.   (AP File Photo/Danny Moloshok)

(Newser) – Jennifer Livingston, the Wisconsin news anchor who responded on-air to a viewer who criticized her weight, has a Hollywood actor in her corner: Her brother, Office Space and Sex and the City star Ron Livingston. Ron has issued a statement in support of his sister, Radar reports, noting that she "brings an exceptional dedication to her job, her family, and her community, and has been a role model of mine for many, many years." Later on Soledad O'Brien's show, Jennifer Livingston talked about her decision to air her response, Mediaite reports. Seems her husband, also a news anchor, first posted the critical email to his Facebook page and responders were supportive of Livingston, so her news director supported the idea of her going on air.

But Kenneth Krause, who originally criticized Jennifer, isn't backing down and instead offered a follow-up statement to WKBT-TV. "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 by transforming herself for all of her viewers to see over the next year," he said. Jezebel has a picture of Krause, a personal injury lawyer, and notes that he "looks exactly like you'd expect, multiplied by 100."

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Showing 3 of 57 comments
Nov 8, 2012 4:07 AM CST
OBESE PEOPLE IN DENIAL AND THEIR OVERLY P.C. PALS ARE WAGING WAR ON THE WAR ON OBESITY by Wazir Nurani I'm not sure where I need to start with this, so let me go back a ways. A coupla weeks ago, I stumbled onto a conversation thread on Facebook where fat people were supporting the notion that being obese was like being gay, not just because they felt they were being picked on, but because since doctors from a hundred years ago believed erroneously that homosexuality was a treatable medical condition, then they must also be wrong that obesity is a treatable medical condition. To those of you who didn't leave your brains at the tractor pull, I'm sure you can see just what a ridiculous attempt at logic that is. It didn't matter how much information they were given showing just how serious a condition obesity is; they were just gonna stick with the idea that anyone opposing their weight crisis was simply an oppressor. But, face it or don't, the reality is that obesity increases the likelihood of various diseases, particularly heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, certain types of cancer, osteoarthritis, and asthma. Obesity is not just a poor fashion choice where the obese individual simply decides to take on a more rotund appearance. It's a sign that a person has an eating disorder which, if left untreated, could likely become the cause of their premature death, and authorities view it as one of the most serious public health problems of the 21st century. So when one Kenneth Krause emailed news anchor Jennifer Livingston to ask about her unhealthy weight and how she perceives its impact on her viewers, he would become villified throughout the country as a bully, with Livingston herself describing his words as 'cruel'.For those of you that have not heard what he wrote, here is the transcript of the portion Ms. Livingston aired:"It’s so unusual that I see your morning show, but I did 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 & promote a healthy lifestyle."Now, when I read that, I hear someone making a serious attempt to initiate a dialogue with a public figure about how her obvious obesity might influence the people she reaches with her celebrity. I don't find his words to be cruel, and I especially do not detect bullying. And believe me; I understand bullying. I was bullied steadily from roughly the ages of 10 to 16 - and that was without being overweight. When people bullied me, they did not send me eloquent letters discussing my personal health failures and how they impact people who follow me. They used profanity, threats, and violence to terrorize me into viewing my walk home from school as a tour of wartime military duty. So when this controversy erupted in October - the month dedicated to stop bullying, I was incensed at the light-hearted way people have been ready to toss the word 'bully' around, as if they WANT the depth and intensity of bullying to get forever lost, such that we no longer take it as the serious social problem it is. If Mr. Krause had wanted to bully Ms. Livingston he could likely have said something like this:"Hey, you whale! Why don't you finally put the Twinkies down so that you don't leave so many potholes in the sidewalk when you stomp down the street? Or are you afraid of losing your side job at the circus?" THAT would have been cruel. And Mr. Krause's tone was WAY more civil and mature than that. In fact, after the media and public at large came to back Ms. Livingston as a 'bullying victim', Mr. Krause followed up his original email by standing his ground and offering up some more non-bullying that was even more non-cruel than his first letter, stating:"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'll 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 her any advice or support she would be willing to accept."Damn those bullies - always trying to help people.But it would appear that Ms. Livingston, like I'm sure many obese folks would, found it easier to ignore his original inquiry so that she could just generalize him as a bad guy and not address how his actual message relates to her. She labeled his communication an 'attack', and nowhere in her on-air response does she take ownership of her obesity as something that she has both caused as well as something that she can and should change. Even when she admits that she's obese, she has to qualify it by saying "on a doctor's chart", as if there's some other measure of her weight that does not come up obese. Where is that? Certainly not the mirror, as she would see if she were not so obviously committed to fooling herself. She attempts to say that there is so much more to her life and her personal makeup than just her weight that Mr. Krause is supposed to somehow be made to feel like he was out of line in calling her a bad role model. This couldn't be further from the truth. It doesn't matter that there may be other ways that she might serve as a proper role model in her life. Her public image is the one that most people see, and there is no arguing that her excessive weight can only make her a poor role model when it comes to physical fitness. She also says with all transparency that Mr. Krause's words mean "nothing" to her. Well, if that were the case, she wouldn't have issued such a heartfelt albeit misguided response. She would have simply deleted the email and forgotten about it, or perhaps - at the very most - she might have sent off a quick private reply to him to dismiss his concerns and signify her dislike for the topic as one of discussion.Instead, she also says something that to me sounds outright dangerous. Her exact words are "We need to teach our kids to be kind, not critical." Really, Ms. Livingston? When a loved one is strung out on drugs or alcohol, is it kindness they need over criticism? I think not, and the same goes for when we see someone we care about eating themselves to death.And with all of the people now supporting her - thousands of Americans, many probably overweight themselves - she can smile smugly, knowing that she was able to use her position as a talking head speaking out to people across the land from inside that electronic box to, if not set an example to impressionable young people watching her, then to at least use it to manipulate folks into giving her the free pass she needs to keep on eating and keep on poisoning her body so that one day, she can finally set a different kind of example from inside a different kind of box.In fact, if you dare to define bullying as someone who uses their clear advantage over another person to hurt them, then it is Ms. Livingston who is the bully. Mr. Krause was just a private citizen who sent a personal note to an email address Ms. Livingston makes available for the public to send correspondence. She took his email, and she used her special advantage as a media figure with access to a TV broadcast to publicly malign Mr. Krause as this 'bully' he has watched himself become in the eyes of the nation. Pretty damn good bullying there, Ms. Livingston. By the way, according to Mr. Krause, his email also included parts where he confided his own battle with obesity, offered to help her, and asked her to take the message in the way he intended it, but all of which the 'fair journalist' Ms. Livingston conveniently excluded.Now, I know obesity first-hand, having been there myself, and I'm still overweight. I'm no longer as heavy as I was, but I maintain a round belly, I knowingly shun proper nutritional practices, I don't exercise enough, and I've even been eating candy as I wrote this. And that is all my fault. It is all my choice. I do not attempt to transfer the blame or pretend that it isn't there. Sweeping my problem under the rug is probably the best way that I could set myself up to never get into better shape, so I'm not going to do that. I'll readily eat my cheeseburger with a side order of guilt, thank you very much. And I could never bring myself to condemn anyone who cared enough about me to voice their concern about my health. Obese people need to stop fighting for their right to be walking time bombs. And no well-coordinated diversions, deflections, or distractions will delay the eventualities of their choices, especially when encouraged by an army of enablers.
Oct 8, 2012 4:51 AM CDT
It's people like Kenneth Krause who create the negative stereotypes of body image and make people feel bad about about themselves. Hooray for Jennifer for fighting back. What does Mr. Krause look like? Maybe as a member of the bar, he needs some work.
Oct 7, 2012 1:47 PM CDT
I thought the whole problem was bullying, Is it not also bulling by using your position as a news anchor to discuss your personal Email where someone is stating a fact she is overweight and is setting a bad example.Maybe if peole would quit feeling sorry for themselves and quit crying for attention the " Bullying " would stop or better yet ignore it and grow a spine. The news director of this station needs to be asking her when did the evening news become her personal forum. Accepting parents being overweight is as good as telling their children it is okay to develop poor health habits and when it gets out of control cry poor me. The real news story is that people in america have become so weak minded that they cannot take anyone saying something about them they cannot either accept or ignore.