A local meteorologist in New Orleans, Louisiana was recently approached by a homophobic email sent to him by a disgruntled viewer.
On July 17, David Bernard, the chief meteorologist of WVUE Fox 8one of the largest multimedia news platforms in the Southeast Louisiana region, posted an email from a viewer named “Stephen LaFrance” on his Facebook page.
The email, brief in its statements, said “good job predicting the f***t weather”, complaining of power outages despite a forecast of light rain.
“I received a disturbing email yesterday from someone who was upset with the forecast. After 30 years, I can bear and accept criticism when I’m wrong. What I won’t accept are attacks against me,” Bernard, who is openly gay, wrote in the Facebook post.
Bernard said the individual who sent him the homophobic message had used his company’s email, which Bernard chose not to reveal because he did not know whether the company was owned by the individual “or belonged to d ‘others”.
He then added, “And by the way, the word f**** ta two G’s.”
Bernard followed up his initial post with a comment below the email screenshot. He expressed his gratitude for the many viewers who responded with encouraging messages of support.
“Being a gay man in public has been tough, especially 30 years ago when I first came on TV, but thanks to the support of so many family, friends and people like you, it’s got a whole lot easier,” Bernard wrote. “But the reality is that it is NOT easy for many people even today who feel marginalized. Comments like the one in the email are like death by a thousand cuts for those who don’t have this support network in place.
He encouraged his followers to help combat unnecessary hatred against LGBTQ people, noting that he make a donation to The Trevor Projecta suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth, and posted a link so its followers can also donate.
As noted in Bernard’s follow-up comment, many people offered him words of support in the comments section under his original post. Other meteorologists, local New Orleans reporters, TV viewers and even a few Louisiana officials emphasized how much they valued Bernard for his work and backed off from 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. “It makes me sad that this person directed hate at you and the LGBTQ community.”
“So sorry you have to deal with this,” Facebook user Tammy Victory Diecidue wrote in another comment. “This world needs more kindness, and this person has failed in manners and nurturing!! David, keep giving us the weather like you do, and keep living a loving life and happiness. We all love you!!”