In general, people use a host of complimentary adjectives to describe a pregnant woman, but for one viewer of CTV’s Your Morning show, meteorologist Kelsey McEwen’s 34-week baby bump is “disgusting.”
McEwen drew attention to the viewer’s tweet last week, first by responding on the social media site and then with an impassioned speech delivered on air in which she declared, “My body is no one’s business but own.”
“I was really disappointed , especially because it had been such a volatile weekend in news,” she tells Global News, referring to the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. “I’m disgusted by seeing people discriminated against because of the colour of their skin, their gender, sexuality and religion.”
McEwen says the series of tweets she wrote in response was very positively received by her followers, although the flurry of responses telling her that she’s beautiful missed the point of her message.
“It’s nice, but it doesn’t help,” she says. “It fuels the idea that we have to be beautiful to be worthwhile. I’m so much more interesting than my appearance.”
This isn’t the first time the meteorologist was targeted for her clothing choices. During her first pregnancy, she recalls one particular viewer comment that really stung.
“I was wearing a black dress that was just above my knee. One viewer thought it was insulting that she could see what she called my ‘fat knees and thighs.’ That really hurts because you’re meant to gain weight when you’re pregnant but I don’t know a single person who isn’t aware of how her body is changing. At the time, I was already so self-conscious; it was devastating.”
Over the years, she’s become more desensitized to viewer comments about her appearance — although she notes that she was never criticized for wearing tight clothing prior to getting pregnant — and credits her attitude to a combination of putting filters on her social media accounts to block the trolls and learning that her self-worth doesn’t come from other people.
“It empowers me to stand up to this person and say ‘it’s not OK. I’m comfortable with what I’m wearing and I’m happy,'” she says. “You have to approach people with kindness and understanding in order to change the dialogue for the future. We’re not going to fix anything with anger.”
McEwen is certainly not the first pregnant television personality to be on the receiving end of ire. Last month, Laura Warren, a news anchor with WRWD in Georgia, received a voicemail from a viewer that left the normally “thick-skinned” journalist shocked.
In the message, the viewer told Warren to “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.” She ended by saying she’s “being disgusting on the TV.”
WATCH: Kristi Gordon responds to hateful messages
Similarly, Global BC’s senior meteorologist Kristi Gordon was the target of hateful messages during both her pregnancies. She was also called “disgusting” and compared to the Hindenburg.
“I was self-conscious…but there was nothing I could do,” she told Global News. “I wasn’t going to starve myself — I still had a job to do and I was a working mom.”
McEwen hopes that if nothing else, her response will help other people find the right way to address hatred and discrimination.
“It makes me think if I can give one person the dialogue to stand up for themselves and make them feel worth it, I’ve done my job.”
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.