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Traffic reporter goes viral after response to nasty body comment

Calgary’s Leslie Horton said unplanned response just came out after she received an email
Global Calgary traffic reporter Leslie Horton, as shown in this undated handout image, has developed a thick skin after receiving nasty feedback from viewers for years but she unleashed a now viral verbal tirade against one of them last week after the individual “crossed my line.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Global News **MANDATORY CREDIT **

TV traffic reporter Leslie Horton developed a thick skin over the years because of nasty feedback from viewers, but she unleashed a viral smackdown last week after she says one of them “crossed my line.”

The usually unflappable host, who has been at Global Calgary since 1995, was about to give a live report on the morning show when she decided to read out a message she received during a break.

“I’m just gonna respond to an email that I just got saying, ‘Congratulations on your pregnancy. If you’re gonna wear old bus-driver pants, you have to expect emails like this,’” Horton said.

“So thanks for that,” she responded.

“No, I’m not pregnant. I actually lost my uterus to cancer last year. And this is what women of my age look like. So if it is offensive to you, that is unfortunate.

“Think about the emails that you send.”

Horton, 59, said she has been getting “nasty” messages for the last four years from the same man, who is “clearly not a fan and that’s fine,” she told The Canadian Press in an interview Thursday.

She had been ignoring them, she said, because women in broadcasting get a lot of unkind messages.

But Horton, who talked openly about her cancer diagnosis when she took a break from work in January 2022, said the pregnancy comment seemed targeted.

“I found this particular message aimed directly at shaming me, humiliating me and embarrassing me and making me feel bad about myself,” she said.

“I just thought, you can send me your critiques, you can send me some nasty messages, but you do not get to speak to me inappropriately. And that had crossed my line.

“So I said some words. Apparently they were coherent. And I finished my traffic report and I walked away.”

Horton, a one-time cheerleader for the B.C. Lions in the Canadian Football League, said she had not planned to respond to the message.

“The (words) just came out of my mouth and they came from deep within my spirit.”

After, she said, she was shaking.

“It was a combination of the realization that someone was trying so hard to hurt me. You don’t have to tell me I have a belly, emailer. I know I have a belly. And guess what? Grey hairs and wrinkles, too,” she said.

Horton said her response seems to have struck a chord with other women in media and women of the same age.

Video of her response has been making the rounds on social media, with widespread praise and support.

Hollywood star Jamie Lee Curtis shared it on Instagram. “This news anchor was body-shamed by a viewer,” said text placed over the video post.

Fellow American actress Michelle Pfeiffer, in response to Curtis, wrote “Bravo” with several clapping hand emojis.

Horton said she appreciates strong women role models coming to her defence and suggesting people need to think about how they talk to each other.

“I am no spokesperson for women around the world,” added Horton. “I am a mom who lives in Calgary and is lucky enough to live out her passion, working five hours of live TV a day.”

Horton said she turns 60 in March and intends to have a month-long celebration.

“Once a doctor has opened the door of a room, walked in and said, ‘It’s cancer,’ life as you know it is done. That tends to leave you with an attitude of gratitude,” Horton said.

“So 60? I’m still green side up. So yeah, we’re going to celebrate the wrinkles.”

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