By Melissa Chan
May 17, 2016

The Los Angeles meteorologist who was asked to cover up her dress with a sweater during a live weather report said she’s been hit with a barrage of body-shaming emails since the viral ordeal over the weekend.

Many have criticized KTLA’s Liberté Chan for the beaded, sleeveless black dress she wore on television Saturday, but some have taken the insults too far, she told TIME on Tuesday.

“I’ve gotten emails that say, ‘She has fatty arms. She has this. She has that,’” Chan said in her first interview since going viral over the weekend. “As a meteorologist, you’re in a very vulnerable situation. You’re showing your entire body. It became much more about my body than my brain. This has turned into a much bigger issue than just a sweater.”

The 35-year-old meteorologist was caught off guard when a male co-worker handed her a cardigan sweater in the middle of her report. When she asked why and if it’s “because it’s cold,” the colleague said, “We’re getting a lot of emails.”

“I was shocked,” Chan told TIME, adding that she was also hurt. “Do people go into your work and complain about what you’re wearing?”

The Los Angeles native, who has been in the news industry for more than a decade, admitted the black dress may have been “a little flashy for a morning show” but didn’t think it was enough to garner such backlash. She said in a blog post in response to the incident that the dress was a backup after her first clothing choice had an issue with the station’s green screen.

An overwhelming amount of people have reached out to Chan in support, including female viewers who helped her realize that the incident may be an equality issue, as well. “I’ve gotten emails saying, ‘We fought for equality,’ and the older generation is thinking, ‘Why is she being told what she should wear or what she shouldn’t wear? We’ve lived through a generation, a time when men told us what we should wear,’” Chan said. “Are we going backwards? It’s 2016.”

In defiance of her detractors, Chan said she won’t change how she dresses for work going forward. “I’ll just be me and being me has not caused me any issues until Saturday morning,” she said. “It is what it is. I’m not crying over it.”

 

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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