Sex and the City actor defends ‘obese’ TV anchor sister

On the show, Jennifer Livingston said: “The truth is, I am overweight. You can 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?”

By Denise Quigley
Mail Online

Originally published on the Mail Online, 4 October 2012

When she spoke out against a viewer who called her obese earlier this week, local news anchor Jennifer Livingston became famous the nation over. And it seems fame runs in the family as her actor brother has now come forward to defend her – and is none other than Sex and the City star Ron Livingston.

Livingston, who played Carrie Bradshaw’s love interest Jack Berger in the hit TV show, waded into the controversy surrounding his WKBT anchor sister by releasing a statement supporting her.

He said: ‘My sister Jennifer is an Emmy-winning journalist and mother of three amazing girls. 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. I’m extremely proud of her.’

Wisconsin lawyer Kenneth Krause was outed yesterday as the man who sent the cruel email to Mrs Livingston, telling her: ‘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.’ To add insult to injury, the fitness fanatic then issued an unrepentant defense of his email, along with the offer to help the local anchor lose weight.

Ron Livingston has also appeared in Office Space, Band of Brothers and most recently The Odd Life of Timothy Green. But he is best known for his role in season five of Sex and the City, when he unceremoniously dumped Carrie on a post-it note.

Personal injury lawyer Kenneth Krause who sent an email to a local Wisconsin new anchor demanding that she lose weight because she is a bad example to young girls.

A picture of Kenneth Krause, who became one of the most vilified in America this week, was released on Facebook yesterday – and it went some way in explaining his deeply personal attack on Mrs Livingston’s appearance.

Mrs Livingston gave an interview to the Today show yesterday in which she revealed she was particularly rubbed up the wrong way by being called a bad role model to young girls – rather than being called fat. Her brother reiterated this in his statement by revealing that she was a role model of his.

Jennifer said: ‘The person called me obese and I can deal with that and being called fat, but it was calling me a bad role model that really rubbed me the wrong way.

‘Not only for our community but in particular for young girls, I am a mother of three young girls and I felt that was an unfair judgement of someone who didn’t know me. I have a pretty thick skin, I’m a tough gal and can handle this type of thing, but what I was thinking instead was that I’m having conversations with my ten-year-old daughter right now about bullying.

‘I’m trying to inspire her and teach her that if she sees bullying – the importance of taking a stand. But what kind of message am I teaching her if my husband and I are talking about this mean email I’ve received and I’m not taking a stand for myself.’

Famous role: Ron Livingston played Carrie Bradshaw’s boyfriend Jack Berger in Sex and the City as well as Steven Spielberg’s Band of Brothers which was a 10-part WWII mini-series aired in 2001.

The letter that Mr. Krause wrote to Mrs Livingston states that he 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.’

After the issue became national news, Mr Krause was asked to explain why he made his comments. Though the lawyer refused to go on air, he released a statement saying: ‘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.’

His harsh words have drawn much criticism and caused a major debate across the U.S.

Mrs Livingston said on the Today show that though Mr Klause made a valid point about the dangers of obesity, she blasted his approach for being ‘totally inappropriate’.

‘I have never gone in public saying I am the shining example of what your health should be’, she said. ‘I’ve never said girls should aspire to have a body like mine, I’ve never told anyone to eat the way I do or exercise  as much as I do.

‘If someone wants to talk to me about the story I’ve covered then I am all about that. My job is to go out and report the news. But when you attack someone on a personal level it’s not fair at all, I don’t care if I’m in the public eye or not.’

The letter went viral last Friday when Mrs Livingston’s husband – fellow news anchor Mike Thompson – posted it on his Facebook page, slamming it as ‘sick’ and ‘infuriating’.

In a special four-minute broadcast that aired before the news yesterday Mrs Livingston spoke directly to her criticizer.

Standing up: CBS affiliate WKBT, news anchor/reporter Jennifer Livingston, second left, used the opportunity to speak out about bullying.

She said she tried to laugh off the comment as she was so used to criticism from being in the public eye, but was encouraged by hundreds of supporters to speak out.

She acknowledged: ‘The truth is, I am overweight. You can 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 that 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 watch this show. You know nothing about me but what you see on the outside, and I am much more than a number on a scale.’

And perhaps to address the writer’s comment that she was not a good role model for young people, she used the opportunity to focus on bullying, pointing out that October is anti-bullying month.

She said: ‘That man’s words mean nothing to me, but really angers me about this is 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.

She said: ‘That man’s words mean nothing to me, but really angers me about this is 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 and is passed down from people like that man to those who don’t know any better. If you are at home and you are talking about the fat news lady, guess what? Your children are probably going to go to school and call someone fat.’

She then thanked the hundreds of messages of support and courage she received from those in the community and further, saying it was ‘overwhelming’ and ‘inspiring’.

She finished the broadcast with a strong and powerful message: ‘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.’

 

VIDEO: Bullying debate ignited as news anchor responds to viewer who called her fat.