LA CROSSE, Wisc. — Jennifer Livingston, an Emmy award-winning journalist from WKBT in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and sister of Office Space star Ron Livingston, now has another title to her name: Anti-Bullying Advocate.
On Monday, Livingston went on air and responded to an email that attacked her weight. The email was written by Kenneth Krause, a personal injury lawyer in La Crosse. Krause’s email essentially said Livingston was fat and a poor example for young girls.
Livingston responded — on live television. Her candid, yet classy, editorial inspired a community to rise up and offer its support. Her video went viral, and on Tuesday, she made the rounds on a number of national talk shows, reiterating her message: bullying should not be tolerated.
Livingston told CBS This Morning that Krause’s email was well-written, but his message was malicious.
“It was articulate, but make no mistake about it, it was meant to hurt my feelings,” she said. “It was meant to shame me into losing weight, an in my opinion, that’s a bully.”
Livingston is the mother of three young girls and said she wants her kids to know the importance of standing up to bullies.
“I’m having conversations with my 10-year-old daughter about bullying right now,” Livingston said in an interview with the Today Show. “I’m trying to inspire her that if she sees bullying happening with other people, she needs to take a stand. It’s important to take a stand.”
Krause, on Tuesday, stood by his initial email, 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 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.”
While Krause is comfortable emailing and issuing statements, he declined Livingston’s invitation to join her on the air to discuss his position regarding her weight. According to blogger Aaron Rupar, Krause also declined to comment on “The Morning Sickness,” a La Crosse radio show.
For Livingston, being thrust into the national spotlight was a surprise, but she believes it’s started an important conversation. Ending her editorial on Monday, Livingston said she wants others, especially children, to learn from her experience.
“Do not let your self-worth be defined by bullies,” she said. “Learn from my experience that the cruel words of one are nothing compared to the shouts of many.”