Weather presenter Liberte Chan body shamed by viewers after 'sweater-gate' incident

Chans says network has received emails from viewers commenting on her body

Maya Oppenheim
Wednesday 18 May 2016 09:15 BST
Weather presenter Liberte Chan made to wear cardigan on air after viewers complained about her dress

A weather presenter whose live broadcast was interrupted by a colleague handing her a cardigan says she has received a number of emails body-shaming her.

On Saturday, Liberte Chan’s weather broadcast on Los Angeles-based local news station KTLA was interrupted by a colleague passing her a cardigan to put on over her black dress. An off-camera male voice then explained that they were getting a lot of emails complaining about her choice of clothing.

Since the incident went viral, Ms Chan says she has been on the receiving end of inappropriate comments about her appearance and body size.

“I’ve gotten emails that say, ‘She has fatty arms. She has this. She has that,’” Ms Chan told Time.

“As a meteorologist, you’re in a very vulnerable situation. You’re showing your entire body. It became much more about my body than my brain. This has turned into a much bigger issue than just a sweater."

Ms Chan said she would not change her choice of clothing in the future. “I’ll just be me and being me has not caused me any issues until Saturday morning. It is what it is. I’m not crying over it.”

Although Ms Chan has received a number of negative body shaming emails in the aftermath of the incident, she explained there had also been a supportive response from other viewers.

“I’ve gotten emails saying, ‘We fought for equality.' And the older generation is thinking, ‘Why is she being told what she should wear or what she shouldn’t wear? We’ve lived through a generation, a time when men told us what we should wear,’. Are we going backwards? It’s 2016.”

In Ms Chan’s initial response to the furore posted on her Facebook page, she said she did not think the incident was sexist and she instead found it funny.

“I really wasn’t offended, people are kind of spinning it and saying that it was sexist […] They’re calling it sweater-gate,“ she said “I personally was not offended at all, I found it funny […] I don’t think it was sexist but that’s just my opinion.”

She also wrote a blog post where she defended KTLA, the television station who came under heavy criticism for their treatment of Ms Chan. “For the record, there is no controversy at KTLA,” she wrote. “My bosses did not order me to put on the cardigan, it was a spontaneous moment. I truly love my job, I like my bosses and enjoy working with my co-workers. Since talking to my team, I want our viewers to know it was never our intention to offend anyone”.

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