A local meteorologist in New Orleans, Louisiana, recently received a homophobic email from a disgruntled viewer.
On July 17, David Bernard, the chief meteorologist at WVUE Fox 8, one of the larger multi-media news platforms in the southeastern Louisiana region, posted an email from a viewer named “Stephen LaFrance” on his Facebook page.
The email, brief in its statements, said “nice job predicting the weather f***t,” proceeding to complain about power outages despite a forecast of light rain.
“I received a disturbing email yesterday from a person who was upset about the forecast. After 30 years I can stand and accept the criticism when I get it wrong. What I won’t accept are personal attacks about me,” Bernard, who is openly gay, wrote in the Facebook post.
Bernard said that the individual who sent him the homophobic message used his company email, which Bernard elected not to expose since he didn’t know if the company was owned by the individual ‘or owned by others.”
He then added: “And by the way, the word f****t has two G’s.”
Bernard followed up his initial post with a comment beneath the screenshot of the email. He expressed gratitude for the many viewers who responded with encouraging messages of support.
“Being an out gay man in public has had its struggles, especially 30 years ago when I got into television, but because of the support of so many family members, friends and people like you it has gotten much easier,” Bernard wrote. “But the reality is it is NOT easy for many people still today who feel marginalized. Comments like the one in the email are like a death by a thousand cuts for those that don’t have that support network in place.”
He encouraged his supporters to help combat needless hate against LGBTQ individuals, noting that he made a donation to The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth, and posted a link so his followers could donate as well.
As noted in the follow-up comment by Bernard, many people offered words of support to him in the comment section below his original post. Other meteorologists, local New Orleans reporters, viewers, and even a few Louisiana public officials emphasized how much they appreciated Bernard for his work and renounced the hateful message sent by LaFrance. In total, there were over 2,000 comments, most of which expressed support for Bernard.
“The world needs less hate and more kindness,” Louisiana State Rep. Aimee Adatto Freeman (D-New Orleans) wrote in a comment. “Makes me sad that this person directed hatred toward you and the LGBTQ community.”
“I am so sorry you have to deal with this,” wrote Facebook user Tammy Victory Diecidue in another comment. “This world needs more kindness, and this person missed out on manners and education!! David, keep reporting the weather to us, just as you do, and keep living a life that is full of love and happiness. We all love you!!”
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