The man who wrote a letter to news reporter Jennifer Livingston about her excessive weight has made him name public: Kenneth Krause. I believe he may have done this a few days ago, but I just saw a discussion of this on CNN. Here is an interview Krause gave:
I’ve seen some small spin here and there with what Krause said, so let me set the record straight: He apologized for offending Livingston, not for his letter. In fact, shortly after his letter, he wrote this:
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.
I’m glad that Krause not only made himself public but that he has stood by what he said. With the growing number of fat people in America, his position is not a popular one. It’s good to see him sticking by his principles. It was also good to see him address the notion that he is a bully (see video). Of course he isn’t one. In fact, let’s look at what it would mean if he was one:
Livingston used the letter to emphasize October as National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, an annual campaign launched by non-profit The PACER Center in 2006 to raise awareness about the dangers of bullying. On its website, the organization defines bullying as intentional behavior “that hurts or harms another person physically or emotionally,” in which the targets “have difficulty stopping the behavior directed at them and struggle to defend themselves.”
Did the popular local media figure have trouble defending herself? Were four minutes of air time not enough for her to mount her case? Did she experience any difficulty in stopping the barrage of…one…email to her inbox? I think it’s clear that anyone with any common sense can see that it is absolutely ludicrous to claim that this adult woman was at all bullied. Moreover, given Krause’s demeanor and reaction to everything, I think it’s pretty clear he was being sincere in his desire to see Livingston improve her health.
Good on you, Kenneth Krause.
Update: Apparently the news station identified Krause. To his credit, he didn’t hide from TV cameras when approached and he has given statements that stand by his letter. However, to the discredit of the station, they made it a point to publicly demean and humiliate this guy. I’m not willing to call their actions bullying, but they are definitely far closer than Krause to fitting the definition of what that means.