Chicago broadcaster Marcella Raymond, who has worked at WGN for 18 years, was shocked to receive an anonymous letter mailed to her from a viewer telling her she needs to lose weight. The viewer reasoned Raymond should be slimmer if she wants to keep her job and not lose it to a younger, fitter woman.
After posting the letter on Facebook, Raymond responded in a segment on WGN. “I’m 50 years old, and I’m not going to look like I did when I was 23.”
“And I can’t compete with those girls. And it’s not feasible. I can’t do it. I would spend my entire life doing that and I have other, better, more important things to do,” Raymond said.
“Our main job is not to wear a swimsuit or to look like a beauty queen. Our main job is to deliver the news in the best way we can,” Raymond tells WGN Radio. “It’s not about being the prettiest girl on TV.”
“Why are you contacting me out of ‘concern,’ and basically telling me that I’m going to lose my job because I’m fat,” Raymond said during the TV segment. “It’s unbelievable to me in this day and age, and maybe we haven’t evolved as much as I’d like to think.”
“Yeah, I look at myself on TV and I go, ‘I need to lose some weight,’ Raymond said. “I’m my own worst critic. So I know I need to, and I’ll do it eventually, but I don’t need someone else telling me that and pointing out my flaws.”
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While she could easily ignore the letter, Raymond is concerned about how this kind of body shaming could hurt other people who don’t have the same confidence.
“To me it’s fine, it didn’t really bother me, it just made me mad, I didn’t take it personally,” Raymond said. “But to a little kid, they’re going to take it personally. So we need to stop that. We need it to end.”