A United States TV station has come under fire after a woman weather presenter was made to cover herself up with a cardigan mid-way through a live forecast on the pretext that viewers were complaining about her dress.
Liberte Chan was in the middle of her weather update for Los Angeles TV station KTLA when a frumpy grey sweater appeared on the right side of the camera.
“What’s going on? You want me to put this on? Why? Because it’s cold?” Chan asked as she slipped the sweater on over her dress.
“We’re getting a lot of emails,” anchor Chris Burrous quipped back, later claiming that viewers were upset she was wearing a New Year’s Eve-style dress for the broadcast.
“What? Really? I look like a librarian now,” she said, looking slightly confused.
The TV network was slammed on social media for the incident that took place on Saturday with many calling the on-screen drama sexist and some referring to it as #sweatergate.
“This is so demeaning, why couldn’t they pull her to the side beforehand? Why on cam? Make her feel like that? Dress was fine,” a person wrote on Twitter.
Burrous apologised for the awkward moment in a response to that tweet, writing, “I completely understand...meant in jest but I see how it seemed. I am sorry. I hope you will give me another chance.”
Chan said yesterday during a Facebook Live chat with fans that she was surprised the incident became “this big thing”.
“I really wasn’t offended. People are kind of spinning it and saying it was sexist. I thought it was just funny,” she was quoted as saying.
“I think we just played into the viewers saying you should come up so he brought me over a sweater. But not offended, I don’t think it was sexist,” she said.
This is not Chan’s first wardrobe-related incident that made headlines. Back in March, Chan’s seafoam green dress blended with the green screen and caused the weather patterns to show up on her clothes, the New York Post reported.
Since the incident did the rounds of the internet, Chan also wrote a blog post defending KTLA, claiming she was not ordered to put the sweater on by producers and was just “playing along with my co-anchor’s joke”.
“More importantly, I hope my viewers were able to plan their Saturday once they heard my forecast and enjoyed the sunny weather after the clouds cleared,” she wrote.