A Chicago television reporter stunned by a viewer’s letter calling her overweight and “significantly out-of-shape” is receiving praise for going public with the note.
Marcella Raymond, 50, has worked at WGN News for 18 years. The anonymous writer at first praises her skills, but then cautions her that “the TV news game is a young person’s business” and “being overweight makes people look older than they actually are... especially facially.”
Gaining weight suggests the reporter "is not able to discipline herself in a visual medium" and she could "make it more difficult" on herself to keep her job, the person writes.
Raymond received the unsigned letter in the mail, so there was no way to respond to the writer on social media or via email. After showing friends the letter, she decided to post it on her Facebook page.
“It was just mean,” Raymond told her colleagues in an interview on WGN-TV.
“I look at myself on TV and I go, you know what, yes, I need to lose some weight. 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.”
Raymond, who is a size 10, noted she will never look like she did when she was 23 and refuses to spend her life obsessing about her weight.
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She criticized the anonymous author — who Raymond suspects is a woman — for being “cowardly” and writing the letter under the guise of being "concerned" while also implying she would lose her job because of her weight.
No one at the station has ever told her to lose weight, she added, noting that reporters shouldn’t have to compete with models.
“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 said in an interview with WGN Radio. “It’s not about being the prettiest girl on TV.”
She’s been stunned by the outpouring of support, with hundreds of comments left on her Facebook page alone, plus hundreds more on the station’s page.