A Los Angeles television station has come under fire after a presenter handed his colleague a cardigan so she could cover her bare shoulders.
It happened during the Saturday 8 a.m. broadcast on KLTA, a local station serving the greater Los Angeles area. In it, meteorologist Liberté Chan, dressed in black, gives her report on the day’s weather when she encounters unexpected turbulence in the air.
Suddenly, in the middle of the broadcast, the suit-clad arm of weekend host Chris Burrous appears on the side of the screen. Hanging from it is a gray cardigan, which seems to imply a suggestion that Chan doesn’t seem too happy about.
“What’s going on?” she says she, then walks over to him, seemingly confused. “Do you want me to wear this? Why? Why is it cold here?
“We’re getting a lot of emails,” the male voice says, as his hands slide the cardigan over Chan’s.
“What?” Chan yells. “In fact?”
“There you go,” he says. “How nice.”
“OK. I look like…a librarian,” she says.
The video quickly went viral on social media and many are asking for an apology from the station. Chan, however, said there are no hard feelings.
According to a post on Chan’s Twitter feed, her original black and white dress “came off,” meaning it collided with the green screen. She wrote on her blog that her protective wall made her dress partially transparent.
That’s how she ended up wearing an 8 am cocktail dress, a tailoring choice she certainly seemed excited about.
Some of his audience apparently did not share his enthusiasm.
According to a post on Chan’s personal blog, the station received several emails complaining about his bare shoulders. Hence the cardigan. And while he may have caught her off guard, she wrote: “For the record, KTLA did not order me to put my sweater on. I was just playing along with my co-host’s joke, and if you’ve ever watched the morning show, you know we make fun of each other all the time. And, also for the record, there is no controversy in KTLA. My bosses did not order me to put on my jacket, it was a spontaneous moment”.
While at least one user on Twitter took it as a joke:
I find @KTLA’s response to #sweatergate refreshing. The sweater was a blow to the complainers, and it was done with good humor.”
I hope the jerk gets fired for humiliating her live. Maybe a burqa next time? Your owner and manager owe you a public apology
— many others responded as if there was a major controversy, going so far as to name the event #SweaterGate and sending a barrage of outraged tweets to the station.
“I hope the idiot gets fired for humiliating her live,” one user tweeted. “Maybe a burqa next time? His owner and manager owe him a public apology,” another tweeted. “Sexism. Public embarrassment. About what? Arms? What exactly is problematic here? another tweeted.
Burrous’ response may have been a joke, but the emails the station received about his appearance seem anything but.
“Looks like you didn’t make it home from your cocktail party last night,” says one. “In general, I like Liberté, but this was a display of very poor judgment,” says another.
However, many of the comments, even supportive ones, continue to focus on her appearance.
“Liberte, you’re beautiful, you don’t need explanations!” read one. “She looks beautiful (sic),” says another. “This woman looks stunning… I apologize… on air,” says another.