Anchor's words for bully spark online debate in the Lowcountry - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Anchor's words for bully spark online debate in the Lowcountry

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By Ava Wilhite
awilhite@abcnews4.com

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV)-- A viewer sent an email to news anchor Jennifer Livingston of WKBT in LaCrosse, Wis., criticizing her weight in a letter titled "Community Responsibility."

Livingston fired back at the viewer, accusing him of bullying and sparked a national debate.

Even on our ABC News 4 Facebook page, many of our viewers are standing with Livingston applauding her for the on-air response and sharing their own personal experiences with bullies.

Louis Yuhasz is the founder of Louie's Kids an organization dedicated to the treatment of childhood obesity. He says the email didn't deserve a response from Jennifer Livingston.

"It had nothing to do with her performance as an anchor as it did with her appearance, obviously," said Yuhasz.

He adds that Livingston's response adds fuel to the fire. However, he agrees with Livingston that bullying is a learned behavior.

"What I hope happens is that more adults will have those types of conversations with their children regardless if they think their kid might be or could be a bully. Also, regardless of how their kid looks, just as many overweight children bully other kids it's really about what they are teaching at home," said Yuhasz. 

Dr. Patrick O'Neil is the director of the weight management center at MUSC. He says what happened to Jennifer Livingston is common.

"We frequently have patients at the weight management clinic tell us of being approached by total strangers who presume to make comments about their weight," said O'Neil.

He adds obesity is just about the only medical condition where the person who has it is criticized for it.

"I was really impressed with her taking advantage of the opportunity to speak out against weight discrimination and against bullying," said O'Neil. 

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