Storm over weather presenter told to cover up on air

Picture of Liberte Chan being given a cardiganImage copyright

When TV weather presenter Liberte Chan was handed a cardigan and told to cover up during her broadcast it wasn’t because there was a chill in the air.

The US meteorologist was in the middle of her California weekend forecast when she was given a grey cardigan to put on. Chan asked why she was being forced to wear it, to which someone off camera responded: “We’re receiving lots of emails.”

It’s not clear how many people had contacted the station, KTLA 5 in Los Angeles, to complain about Chan’s attire. But on social media it wasn’t so much the dress, but the cardigan that many had an issue with.

There was a furious response from viewers who thought Chan had been treated outrageously.

“Whoa @KTLA I didn’t like the dress either, but you don’t have to make her cover up-ON AIR like that. How embarrassing,” Heather Poole tweeted. Emily Sears tweeted: “KTLA you owe @libertechan an apology. As a viewer and a woman I’m completely disturbed to see this woman publicly shamed doing her job.” Another tweet from Gaby Dunn read: “The meteorologist in this video has like four degrees and is working in a male dominated field and this is what it’s like.”

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As users of social media continued in their defence of Liberte’s choice of attire the programme presenters read some of the emails to which they had referred to.

“Liberte Chan’s dress is totally inappropriate,” read one. “Liberte Chan looks like she stayed out late and came to work in the same dress,” said another.

But more than 8,000 tweets have since been directed to the LA based TV station prompting the hashtags #righttobarearms #IstandwithLiberteChan and #sweatergate.

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Earlier in the day Chan had tweeted a picture of the black beaded dress but following the awkwardly orchestrated cover up she was forced to explain her reason for choosing it.

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She took to social media to say that a different and more demure black and white dress that she had wanted to wear that morning did not work, because the pattern on it clashed with the green screen, on which graphics for the broadcast are projected. Chan had previous experience of the problems that can occur when an outfit is not green screen compliant.

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Chan attempted to draw a line under the furore on the programme saying “It’s a dress people, can we talk about my weather report?”

She has since posted on her own website that the stunt was a joke: “For the record, I was not ordered by KTLA to put on the sweater. I was simply playing along with my co-anchor’s joke, and if you’ve ever watched the morning show, you know we poke fun at each other all the time. There is no controversy at KTLA. My bosses did not order me to put on the cardigan, it was a spontaneous moment. I truly love my job, I like my bosses and enjoy working with my co workers. Since talking to my team, I want our viewers to know it was never our intention to offend anyone. We are friends on and off the air and if you watch our newscast, you know that.”

Blog by Rozina Sini

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