A weekend news anchor at TV reporter in Portland, Ore., responded on-air to a male viewer who sent a message to her Facebook work account telling her to “dress like a normal woman.”
Maggie Vespa, who works at NBC affiliate KGW-TV, posted photos of herself wearing high-waisted pants on five newscasts over the weekend in response to the man’s comments.
She has worked in broadcast journalism for nine years and spoke out about the comments on Sunday’s late-night news with the support of her managers, she told USA Today.
“I’m a pretty secure person but 10 years ago this would have rattled me,” Vespa said. “I probably would have stopped wearing whatever that guy was criticizing and I would have gone out there with my minuscule paycheck and tried to buy some more clothes and tried to adjust. I remember that time, and I just thought if someone is starting out and getting comments like this, me calling it out for what it is might make it easier for them.”
One comment from the viewer said she looked ridiculous in pants that “ride half-way up your torso.”
“Please change your wardrobe,” the viewer wrote. “You’re way too pretty to look so foolish.”
She responded and said she wouldn’t change her attire. While she was on air Friday, he wrote “OMG you really looked uncomfortably (sic) tonight. Try dressing like a normal woman. Doesn’t KGW pay you enough for a wardrobe makeover?”
After that comment, she blocked him.
Vespa said her male coworkers were shocked, but said her mother, who previously worked as a news anchor in Peoria, Ill., had to deal with “horrible, toxic comments from people and unbelievably sexist things” that were much worse than what she’s dealt with.