‘Disappointed’ is how Weekend Today Co-host Deborah Knight responded to a comment by a viewer who said her pregnant body was “repulsive.”
Deborah, who is due to give birth to her third child, a girl, in two weeks, wrapped up her on air commitments yesterday. Her first day of maternity leave is today.
Unfortunately, this happy time in Deborah’s life has been marred by an angry email from a female viewer suggesting that Deborah hide her pregnant belly while presenting on air.
Deborah took to Twitter on Friday afternoon to share the viewer’s “charming” email.
“Charming viewer email: “Deb great BUT don’t need to look at pregnant body. If you must have her on keep her sitting down. It looks repulsive.”
Speaking with news.com.au, Deborah said she was more disappointed than anything by the suggestion she should not be working while visibly pregnant.
“I was more disappointed than offended that someone would genuinely hold that view in a modern era,” she said. “The language used by the viewer was quite strong — she called me ‘repulsive’ — but I get it that there are certain people of a certain generation who might think that pregnant women should perhaps not be in the workforce, because back in the 1950s pregnant women were forced to quit their jobs. I was just disappointed that someone would express that view in 2016.”
The email to Knight came just one week after an irate New Zealand man called a pregnant sports reporter an “eyesore” in a letter-to-the-editor published in TV guide.
Deborah told News.com.au, she had also received emails from viewers suggesting she shouldn’t be on air while pregnant with her two older children, aged six and five.
But she says these views are in the minority.
“I genuinely don’t believe the majority of people hold that view,” she said. “In fact I’ve had some wonderful emails and calls from people who have expressed their equal disappointment and how glad they were that Channel Nine has had, and continues to have, pregnant women on air, and how it’s really lovely.
“I’m still working because I am fit and healthy. If I had any complications, any pain or concerns, I wouldn’t be working. But I don’t.
“I’ve got two weeks until I’m due but I’ve really enjoyed staying on air and sharing my pregnancy with viewers who have enjoyed it as well.”
Deborah said she was thankful for the flood of support she’s received since making the email public.
“We do get a lot of feedback and a lot of it if it negative, and I take no notice of it to be honest, but I just think it’s important to call people out sometimes,” she said. “In this circumstance I thought others would be surprised just as I was that someone would go to the trouble to write this email.
“I thought it was a good opportunity, I suppose, to express that not everyone shares that view.”