Days after defending his infamous email to local Wisconsin TV anchor Jennifer Livingston criticizing her weight, Kenneth Krause now says he “never meant to hurt” her and would possibly revise how he handled the situation.
Krause’s email to Livingston - in which he questioned her example as a role model for young girls because of her weight and asked her to “reconsider” her responsibility as a “local public personality” – went viral after her husband, and fellow anchor at WKBT-TV in La Crosse, Wis., Mike Thompson, posted it to his Facebook page.
The email then made national headlines after Livingston, a mother of three young girls, addressed it head-on in a more than four-minute, on-air editorial address Tuesday morning that took Krause to task for questioning her role as a community role model without knowing the facts behind her struggle with weight.
“To the person who wrote me that letter, do you think I don’t know that?” she said of Krause’s labeling her as overweight.
In his first public comments since Livingston’s on-air editorial, Krause told ABC News’ Alex Perez that his intention was not to hurt Livingston.
“If she is offended, I truly apologize to Jennifer,” Krause said. “That’s the last thing I ever wanted to do.”
Krause admits he did not watch Livingston’s on-air editorial himself, but still empathizes with the anchor, who has said she has a thyroid condition that makes it difficult to lose weight, despite being a triathlete and a runner.
A photo of Krause’s posing behind a mountain bike in a tank top, helmet and bulging biceps appeared on the Facebook page of Brian Simpson, a local radio host and friend of Livingston’s who invited Krause to appear on his show. Krause, however, says he has not always been so fit.
“I can empathize with that,” Krause said of Livingston’s condition. “I was obese as a child. I’ve been fighting all my life.”
After Livingston spoke on-air, Krause, who was first identified by WKBT as the author in a story on its website, responded with the following statement to the station.
“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.”
A few days removed from that statement, Krause says he might have taken a different approach.
“It’s possible I would revise a few things,” he told ABC News. “I never meant to hurt Jennifer. If she is truly hurt, I do apologize for that.”
Livingston, for her part, said she is trying to improve her health, but not because of Krause.
“I think, in his mind, he [Krause] views himself as being helpful which is what I think a little bit of the problem is,” she said in a live appearance Wednesday on “Good Morning America.” “He doesn’t see that the way that he approached it was clearly hurtful to me. He’s trying to shame me into losing weight. That’s not being helpful. That’s being a bully.”
In her on-air address, Livingston also pointed out that October is National Anti-Bullying Month, and advised parents to be careful how they conducted themselves around their children so they didn’t pass on negative lessons.
“I do believe that for the majority of kids out there, this behavior is learned. It’s coming from somewhere else,” Livingston told “GMA.” “We all as adults need to take the time to have the discussion with our children about what’s important, about whether kindness is the way that we want to be or do we want to be critical about the way someone looks.”
Krause says he is not the bully Livingston has made him out to be.
“I’m in no position to bully her,” he said. “She’s a big media personality. I’m just a working stiff.”