US & Canada

Wisconsin WBKT-TV host 'bully message' goes viral

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Media captionJennifer Livingston urges young people not to be hurt by "cruel words"

A local news anchor in the US state of Wisconsin has responded to a viewer who said she was obese in a broadcast that has gone viral online.

In a short segment on WBKT-TV, Jennifer Livingston called the writer a bully.

She also warned young people struggling with their weight, skin colour or sexuality: "Do not let your self-worth be defined by bullies."

In an email last week, the viewer said the TV host had a responsibility to "promote a healthy lifestyle".

The 37-year-old anchor's four-minute message, broadcast on Tuesday from La Crosse, Wisconsin, has been watched by nearly two million people on YouTube.

'Cruel words'

Ms Livingston said more than 1,000 people had sent her supportive messages on Facebook, and she had heard from even more people by email.

Many people said they wished someone had stood up for them, the presenter added, including people who said they had been bullied.

Ms Livingston also said she has been asked to appear on national breakfast shows, the Associated Press reported.

"To all of the children out there who feel lost, who are struggling with your weight, with the colour 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," Ms Livingston said in her broadcast.

The mother-of-three added: "Learn from my experience - that the cruel words of one are nothing compared to the shouts of many."

But the viewer, who identified himself as Kenneth Krause, said his email was not about bullying, in an interview with the Associated Press.

Mr Krause wrote in his email to Livingston: "Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make."

He suggested that Livingston "reconsider your responsibility to present and promote a healthy lifestyle", especially to young girls.

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