Traffic reporter responds to body shamer on live TV

ByShafiq Najib ABCNews logo
Friday, December 8, 2023
ABC7 Eyewitness News
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An on-air traffic reporter gained attention online after addressing a viewer who harassed her in regards to her appearance on live television.

In a video that has been making rounds on the internet, Leslie Horton, 59, who works for the Canadian news outlet Global News, can be seen hosting her daily traffic show before making a comment which she aims towards an online troll.

Leslie Horton, 59, who works for the Canadian news outlet Global News, addressed a viewer who harassed her about her appearance on live television.

"I'm just going to respond to an email that I just got, saying, 'Congratulations on your pregnancy,'" Horton said, adding the email also read, "If you're gonna wear old bus driver pants then you have to expect emails like this."

She continued, "So, thanks for that. Um, no, I'm not pregnant. I actually lost my uterus to cancer last year. And um, this is what women of my age look like."

"So if it is offensive to you, that is unfortunate," Horton added. "Think about the emails you send."

Supporters of Horton took to social media after the network posted a video of the moment on X, formerly known as Twitter.

"Way to go, Leslie, for standing up to rude people like that," one commenter wrote.

"You look beautiful. Don't change a thing," wrote another.

Speaking to "Good Morning America" on Wednesday, Horton, who is now cancer-free, shared that she did not have a plan to address the comment on air.

The news reporter explained she would normally "ignore" or "dismiss" any negative remarks she received from viewers, but this particular one hits too close to home.

"It is a man [who] has been sending nasty emails for about four years's been a pretty constant stream of emails," she said. "And when I got that email during our show, last Wednesday morning, I had a visceral response to it. And I was hurt, angry."

"And I was partly determined that I was clear that this was not an appropriate thing to say. The aim of the email was to hurt and humiliate. And shame me," she continued.

Horton recently went through a health battle after being diagnosed with endometrial cancer almost two years ago in December 2021. She said she lost her uterus during the journey and took a few months off work and "slowly rebuilt my life."

"Because anytime you have a battle with cancer, [it] takes a toll on many, many levels. And you have to figure out who you are going forward, life becomes before cancer, and after cancer," she said.

Endometrial cancer is a "disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the endometrium," according to the National Cancer Institute. Signs and symptoms of endometrial cancer include unusual vaginal bleeding or pain in the pelvis, obesity and having metabolic syndrome may increase the risk of endometrial cancer, the NCI said.

Going through such an experience had impacted her in "every single way," Horton said, adding that she is a real community supporter.

"So when I came back to my job, I had a new appreciation for the connections that I was able to have with the community. And those were always super important to me," she explained.

"I have a lot more gratitude for life. And it also taught me, I think, to be really clear on who I am and what's important to me and what I will expect and behavior from other people. And that brings us to responding to an inappropriate email."

Discussing her reaction to the comment from the online troll who criticized her look, she said, "I just thought you don't get to do that. And that must have been what came from my heart. I had no plans. I responded. I thought nothing more of it. I walked back to my desk and continued on my day. And then things just really blew up from that."

In her message to women who face similar criticism from others, she told "GMA," "Your body is no one's business. You get to decide how you feel about your body. And if you are unhappy with it, there's lots of things that you can do to feel better."

"But you are going to look like who you are," she said. "And you don't need to apologize for that. And you don't need to accept people lashing out and saying mean things on purpose, to bring you down, because no one has the power to bring you down, except yourself."

"Figure out who you are on the inside, and then build it out from there," she added.