LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- A Wisconsin news anchor's response to a viewer who calls her obesity a choice has sparked a debate after the anchor calls the viewer's email a form of bullying.
It is an issue you hear mostly applied to children, but Psychotherapist Ken Clark of Chenal Family Therapy in Little Rock says adult bullying is subtle and prevalent.
"Bullying is based on either a perception of power or actual power being exerted against somebody else to make them feel a certain way," said Clark.
The prevalence of the issue is seen in recent cases, namely, the one of New York School Bus Monitor Karen Kline (68), the target of child bullies.
And then there is a case which occured Tuesday involving female News Anchor Jennifer Livingston. The mother of three gave birth to her third daughter a year ago, admits she is overweight, but recently directly addressed an email from a viewer who calls her obesity a choice.
The anchor calls it a form of bullying and now because she is a public figure that claim of bullying is being debated.
The viewer wrote in part in an email: "I was surprised indeed to witness that your physical condition hasn't improved for many years. Surely you don't consider yourself a suitable example for this community's young people, girls in particular. Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and the most dangerous habit to maintain."
The Wisconsin anchor replied in part to the viewer the following: "...but to the person who wrote be that letter, do you think I don't know that your cruel words are pointing out something that I don't see. You don't know me. Y you're not a friend of mine. You are not a part of my family. You have admitted that you don't watch this show. So you know nothing about me, but what you see on the outside and I am much more than a number on a scale."
Clark says adults sometimes face a challenge identifying when situations cross over into bullying. Clark identifies that line.
"Number one that employee is kept from doing their job to the best of their ability because of the bullying or number two when the employee goes home from that job and is not able to function in their home life or in their individual personhood because of that bullying," says Clark.
The psychotherapist applauds the way the Wisconsin news anchor handled the situation.
"What the anchor did was very important. What the anchor did was showed that bully that in reality they have no power," says Clark.
Clark says their are resources available for adult victims of bullying. For resources go to the Chenal Family Practice website.
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