Special Report: Addressing the Haters, Head On

Imagine you’re at work, and a complete stranger comes up to tell you that you are too fat, too ugly, or too stupid to even be allowed to do the job that you do.

It’s something that happens to our team at 9&10 News quite a bit.

“Maybe you should consider doing a weight loss competition.”

“Nobody wants to see Tom O’Hare doing the weather.”

“You are nothing more than undisciplined, welfare, white trash, inbred, uneducated disgrace to America.”

Those are all real e-mails, phone calls, and social media messages we have personally received over time.

“Lose your lame old people like Bartlemay and Essebaggers.”

“Guess you shouldn’t have people talking about sports that don’t know anything about it.”

“Your station is the laughing stock of northern Michigan.”

These are just some of the messages we are able to share with you. Many are so vulgar and appalling that we can’t read them to you on TV.

You likely know Haleigh Vaughn as a Meteorologist here at 9&10 News.

Every day, she works to bring her bubbly personality and good attitude to work so she can bring you the weather.

Instead of focusing on her forecasts, some choose to complain, criticize, and insult her appearance, intelligence, and integrity.

“If you feel such a draw to whore yourself, maybe you should try stripping,” is just one of the many messages Haleigh has received from viewers.

When asked how comments like these make her feel she said, “They make me feel sad. They make me question who I am. They make me consider how I’m being perceived.”

You may not know that your words have a more profound impact that you think.

Haleigh explained, “I was on the phone once with a lady who called. She said that I don’t have any women role models in my life because I clearly do not express that, and I do not show that I am a respectable person. I have a ton of respectable women in my life, and for someone to call who has never met me, and say you have no one respectable and have no one to look up to. That’s extremely hurtful because you do not know me.”

Kym Hansen-Duell is a clinical therapist at Pine Rest Mental Health Services.

She says social media and the internet play a major role in the problem.

“Because we’re not having that face to face interaction, or even on the phone, that kind of ear to ear interaction, it really allows us to say things we wouldn’t normally say,” she explained.

We at 9&10 News are by no means the only ones battling this problem.

Just take a quick look at the comments on our Facebook Page.

You’ll see viewers ripping each other apart over any number of topics.

Michigan This Morning Meteorologist Michael Stevens said, “Hey, we are human. We have feelings. If you were at work and someone sent you a random e-mail saying you know, you’re horrible at your job, you’re fat, you look terrible. How do you think that would make you feel?”

At the end of the day we are human beings, just like you, and we could all stand to be a little nicer to each other.