WKBT anchor, Wartburg alumna Jen Livingston responds personal attack on air

Jennifer Livingston
Anchor on WKBT and Wartburg alumna responds to on-air attack. - Photo from WKBT Facebook

Wartburg alumna Jennifer Livingston gained national attention after she went on-air Tuesday to address a harshly critical email sent to her by a viewer.

The e-mail accused Livingston of being a poor role model for girls because of her weight and noted the viewer’s disappointment that Livingston did not promote a more healthy lifestyle on-air.

In her response to the attack, Livingston said the viewer knew nothing about her and that they were contributing to the negative perception of overweight people on a whole. In her on-air response, Livingston said, “If you are at home and you are talking about the fat newslady, guess what, your children are probably going to go to school and call someone fat.”

On the Today Show this morning, Livingston told Savannah Guthrie, “What has happened has been really inspiring, but overwhelming at the same time.”

To see the full segment from The Today show, click here.

Her response was also discussed during the 10:00 a.m. hour of the Today Show, where hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotbe discussed the prospect of bullying and the anchor’s reaction. For that full segment, click here.

Livingston is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa and graduated from the Communication Arts program at Wartburg College in 1997. The national attention that her response has garnered sheds light on the issues that anchors and on-air talent face, and it has also spurred and outpouring of support, with over 2,200 likes and comments on the letter after her husband posted it on the station’s Facebook.

Livingston told Guthrie that the attack was unfair, regardless of her position in the public eye.

There will be continuing coverage on this story on the Circuit, on KWAR, and on WTV throughout the week.


During a live chat on Twitter, Jen responded to our question:

















UPDATE 5:33 p.m.

Melanie Harms, a classmate of Livingston’s and an associate professor of music therapy at Wartburg, said she was so proud of Livingston’s decision to stand up and speak out against the comments made by the viewer.

[pb_vidembed title=”Melanie Harms on Jennifer Livingston” caption=”” url=”” type=”yt” w=”480″ h=”385″]


Livingston will be making an appearance on the Ellen Degeneres show on Tuesday. Earlier today, she sent out a tweet saying that she has been asked to come on the show to discuss the topic of bullying.


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