Jennifer Livingston, the Wisconsin news anchor who started a national conversation by calling out a viewer on the air after he wrote her an email criticizing her weight, won herself thousands of new fans this week.
But with the supporters came some detractors, including those who questioned whether Kenneth Krause, the writer of the rude missive, was truly bullying her.
"I am not a bullying expert and would never want to be considered one," Livingston wrote in an exclusive email to E! News yesterday.
"However—I am a mom and a journalist. If my child came home and told me she received that e-mail from someone at school, there's no way I would wait for it to happen again. Cyberbullying can be just as hurtful if not more than traditional forms of bullying. Should we wait to speak up until someone is so beaten down by repeated rants? Or should we take a stand the first time to say, 'this is not okay.'
"Call it bullying, out of line, mean—call it what you want. It should not be accepted."
In his email, which Livingston's husband posted to his Facebook page before his wife addressed it on air, Krause wrote, "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."
Cue the understandable backlash.
"Almost everything I stand for has been said by Jennifer Livingston in the video below," Demi Lovato, herself an anti-bullying activist who has openly addressed her own body image issues, tweeted today along with a link to the la Crosse, Wis., news footage that subsequently went viral. "Jennifer Livingston is a STRONG, BEAUTIFUL and inspiring woman."
When ABC News caught up with him on his way to work last night, Krause told the reporter that the last thing he ever wanted to do was offend Livingston.
"If she is offended, I truly apologize to Jennifer," he said.
Regarding a statement he sent to WKBT-TV in response to Livingston's on-air editorial, in which he encouraged her to take the opportunity to get fit and set an example for those who watch her on the news, Krause told ABC, "It's possible I might revise a few things. "I never meant to hurt Jennifer. If she is truly hurt, I do apologize for that."
"I'm in no position to bully her," he added. "She's a big media personality. I'm just a working stiff."
In a statement posted on WKBT's website, Livingston says that she accepts Krause's apology and hopes that her experience will end up helping others.
"I saw the interview today during which Kenneth Krause apologized," she wrote. "I'm thrilled he's come to realize words have power and we all need to be careful how we use them. Apology accepted and sincerely appreciated.
"This has clearly sparked an important conversation about bullying that needs to continue. I hope this situation has inspired people to find their voice. Let's all work together to keep the discussion kind, civil and supportive of others."