Meteorologist Forced to Cover Dress on Live Television, Wardrobe Shamed by Public and Station
This weekend on KTLA, meteorologist Liberté Chan had her live morning report interrupted by a producer who handed her a cardigan to wear over her sleeveless dress. She appeared stunned and surprised at the fact that she was being interrupted by an offering of clothing, and when she questioned why she was being offered a sweater, she was told by an off-screen voice (assumed to be Chris Burrous, a male anchor at the station) that they were “getting a lot of e-mails.” To which Chan replied, “What, really?”
Apparently so, because Burrous said, “Everyone’s got an opinion about your dress this morning.” Chan said, “Well I’m sorry, but the other dress didn’t work, so… I had to wear something,” before shrugging and continuing with her report. “I think we should see if someone’s gonna help him with his pants,” said Burrous’ co-anchor, Lynette Romero, referring to Burrous’ reputation for wearing shorts while sitting behind the news desk.
Chan was laughing and putting on a good face for the camera, but she was definitely uncomfortable at having to “hold it together in my little sweater,” as she put it.
The incident is coming to be known as “Sweatergate,” in that way that incidents these days are getting “-gate” appended to whatever’s involved. It may seem harmless or even “fun” to the truly clueless public, but there’s a definite skeeziness at the heart of this issue. For starters, interrupting Chan while she’s doing her job on live television is absolutely unprofessional. It doesn’t really matter how many “e-mails” one might be getting at the time, that woman has a job to do, and getting in the way of that job just makes you appear petty.
Second, interrupting her job on live television because viewers wrote in about how much skin she had showing reveals how highly they value her priorities versus the opinions other people might have about the things that she wears. This made it seem like the station doesn’t really value what she does for them, and that it’s okay for her job to take a backseat to people’s misplaced feelings of entitlement over what other people wear on television. Embarrassing someone on live television and leaving them out to mostly hang is absolutely ridiculous and, again, unprofessional.
Chan posted a follow-up video on her Facebook page where she, Burrous, and Romero all read the e-mails the station was receiving. They all shared in how ridiculous the entire situation was, and Chan even showed the original dress she tried on that didn’t work. You can check it out below.
I’m sure there’s something to be said about television and station conventions around dress code, but the fact of the matter is that those things flew out the window once someone in the station decided it was a good idea to interrupt her on live television to essentially shame her for the clothes that she was wearing. I hesitate to speak to how she may have been feeling inside, but as many women have felt time and again in similar situations (see: high school dress codes and girls being sent home for wearing clothes that may “distract” male students), in that moment, you’re reduced to just the things that you wear. To them, you become nothing more than the clothes on your back and the skin you have showing.
It doesn’t matter to them that you’re a student trying to learn, a woman trying to do her job, or anything else; what is important in that moment are the things that you wear.
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