Pregnant Georgia TV News Anchor Body-Shamed as ‘Disgusting’

Viewer voicemail “was hard for many of us to listen to,” anchor tells TheWrap

Last Updated: July 13, 2017 @ 2:20 PM

News anchor Laura Warren of Augusta, Georgia, station WRDW is responding to a negative voicemail from a disgruntled viewer who said she “was disgusting on the TV” at 20 weeks pregnant.

Warren told TheWrap in a phone interview on Thursday that, although she and her colleagues regularly receive feedback, this voicemail felt different. “When you hear something versus see something on social media, it just kind of hits you a little harder,” she said. “And her voice, just the contempt she seems to have for me, like how disgusted she was, like she was being forced to see something so horrific, it was hard for many of us to listen to. We get in this little bubble where we’re, like, OK it’s 2017, people have come a long way, and we have come so far — then something like this happens.”

Warren posted the viewer’s voicemail on her personal blog, “Bump, Baby, and Breaking News.” “Please go to Target and buy some decent maternity clothes so you don’t walk around looking like you got a watermelon strapped under your too tight outfits,” a woman with a thick southern drawl is heard saying. “Target’s got a great line of maternity clothes in case you’ve never heard of such a thing. You’re getting to where you’re being disgusting on the TV.”

But, as Warren wrote in her blog, she’s putting a positive spin on the experience. “I was really thinking about [it] in terms of being a parent, and that’s kind of one of the main reasons I wrote the blog post,” she told TheWrap. “First just to get the discussion going on how we use our words and why we let the negative ones affect us so much, because they do. It’s just human nature unfortunately, but also I was thinking about it in terms of, OK, I’m going to be a parent soon.”

Warren said she thought about how she would handle the matter with her own son. “Kids learn from the adults around them, so when there are these adults doing these cruel things, you know that’s what they’re going to internalize,” she said. “I just didn’t want to send a message of hate out there, because at this point I’m starting to think of things in terms of being a parent.”

Warren posted her internal monologue after receiving the voicemail: “Do I really look disgusting? What outfit is she talking about? Why did she call on Friday, I wasn’t even working Friday… Did she boil over this all week and wait until I was off to leave me a voicemail? Oh crap, am I tearing up at my desk? NOT here. And, NOT over this,” she wrote on her blog.

“This lady doesn’t deserve to get a rise out of  me,” wrote Warren, adding, “Does she know that I’m wearing maternity clothes? What does she want me to wear, a moo moo from the 50’s? Does she know this is 2017? WHY DID SHE CALL ME?! And, why can I not stop thinking about this?! Hmm…bless her heart…”

The TV anchor ended her blog post with a final reflection: “So, ​I think instead of letting this lady get me down, I’m just going to turn her negative energy into positive energy,” she wrote. “I’m going to say as many nice things as I can to as many people as I can, and I’m going to do it in a dress that fits these beautiful new curves with my ‘watermelon’ stomach showing.”