Dallas TV reporter Demetria Obilor, a former Kansas City resident, felt the full sting of body shaming last week when a viewer wrote on Facebook that Obilor “looks ridiculous” on TV in clothes that seem too small for her.
In a video response posted to her social media on Friday, Obilor, a 2012 University of Kansas graduate, said she doesn’t usually “clap back” at viewers. But she did this time.
“This is the way that I was born,” Obilor, wearing a KU sweatshirt, said in her video. “I’m not going anywhere.”
She was joined by hundreds of people, including Chance the Rapper, who denounced the viewer’s critique. Meghan McCain, daughter of Sen. John McCain and a former Fox News commentator, thanked Obilor for speaking out on the issue.
Obilor, a 2012 KU graduate, who, according to her resume, worked at KSHB-TV in Kansas City from July 2013 to February 2014, just started as traffic reporter at WFAA-TV in Dallas two weeks ago.
Viewer Jan Shedd didn’t like what she saw of Obilor, she wrote on Facebook last week.
“Has anyone seen Channel 8’s new morning traffic reporter?” Shedd wrote in a post that has been deleted. “Her name is Demetria Obilor & she’s a size 16/18 woman in a size 6 dress and she looks ridiculous.
“I understand that when I watch Channel 8 I’m going to get biased reporting and political correctness, but clearly they have taken complete leave of their senses. I’m not going to watch Channel 8 anymore.”
Shedd’s comments went viral when Twitter user Mother of Draggings tweeted a screengrab of the post before it disappeared.
Chance the Rapper and hundreds denounced Shedd’s words. On Monday the National Association of Black Journalists, NABJ, issued a statement saying the group is appalled at “insensitive and hateful social media posts” aimed at Obilor.
“The rhetoric is classic cyberbullying and the undertones are hurtful and demeaning,” NABJ president Sarah Glover said in the statement.
“We hope that employers abhor this kind of harassment and online hate when they see it, support their employees, and cultivate diversity and inclusiveness.”
Obilor said in her video that she took a nap on Friday and woke up to find herself in the middle of drama.
“The controversy is coming from people who aren’t too happy with the way that I look on television, saying, ‘Oh, her body, it’s too big for that dress,’ or ‘She’s too curvy’ or ‘Her hair is unprofessional, it’s crazy, we don’t like it,’” she said.
“A quick word to those people. This is the way that I’m built. This is the way that I was born. I’m not going anywhere. So if you don’t like it, you have your options. Now to the people who show love, I love you right back.”
Obilor said when “you look a little different, people think it’s OK to talk to you a little different.
“And I’m on TV, I can’t clap back. I want to clap back all the time. So I’m always taken aback and frankly I’m forever grateful for everybody, people I don’t even know, who come to my defense, stand next to me and say, ‘You know what, Demetria, you don’t have to put up with this.’”
After deleting her first post, Shedd wrote later that she felt wrongly attacked by the “racists mafia.” She said her comment had nothing to do with race.
“Frankly, I didn’t even notice that she was black,” Shedd wrote on Facebook according to a screengrab making the rounds on social media. “I was shocked that Channel 8 would put someone on air that was so provocatively dressed.”