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Facebook fans rally behind bullied news anchor

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Many television news broadcasts claim to be “on your side,” but sometimes it’s the viewers who rally to the side of their local news anchors.

A bully in La Crosse, Wis. found that out when his complaint letter turned up on WKBT-TV evening anchor Mike Thompson’s Facebook page. The letter criticised Thompson’s wife, WKBT morning anchor Jennifer Livingston, calling her “obese.”

“Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain,” the viewer wrote, adding that he hoped Livingston would “reconsider” her job as a public personality.

When Thompson posted the viewer’s hurtful message to Facebook on Friday, it garnered more than 200 likes and hundreds of notes of community support for Livingston, including one calling her a role model.

On Tuesday morning, Livingston addressed her cyberbully’s complaint that she is not “a suitable example for young girls” in a four-minute commentary segment.

“The truth is, I am overweight,” said Livingston on her newscast, News 8 This Morning.

"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... so you know nothing about me but what you see on the outside and I am much more than a number on a scale."

She said the words mean nothing to her, a “thick-skinned” adult, but she worried that similar bullying messages are often sent to kids.

“What really angers me about this is there are children who don’t know better—who get emails as critical as the one I recieved or in many cases, even worse, each and every day,” she said.

Livingston’s impassioned response video was broadcasted on-air and posted to the morning show’s Facebook page. It has received nearly 800 shares and hundreds of comments supporting the anchor.

“Thank you for being a wonderful role model for our children, especially our young girls who are confronted with body image judgement every day!” wrote Mirian Herold.

Photo via News8000.com/WKBT-TV