A meteorologist who was asked by a co-worker to cover up her sleeveless dress during a live broadcast wants enraged observers to know that she wasn’t a victim of workplace sexism.
The meteorologist, Liberté Chan, said in a blog post that she had been playing along with a joke during the broadcast on KTLA in Los Angeles on Saturday. Ms. Chan said she changed into a sparkly tank dress after her first choice, a patterned, black-and-white sheath, turned parts of her body transparent against a green screen.
Ms. Chan was in the middle of her report when a male co-worker reached into the live shot, holding a gray cardigan sweater.
“What’s going on?” Ms. Chan asked. “You want me to put this on? Why? Because it’s cold?”
“We’re getting a lot of emails,” the co-worker said.
“What? Really?” Ms. Chan said.
After she put on the cardigan, she added: “I look like a librarian now.”
“That works!” the co-worker replied.
In a blog post published on Sunday, Ms. Chan said that her employer hadn’t asked her to put on the sweater.
“I was simply playing along with my co-anchor’s joke,” she wrote, “and if you’ve ever watched the morning show, you know we poke fun at each other all the time.”
As for the people who wrote in and complained, Ms. Chan said that the criticism came with the territory.
“I’ve worked on-air for 10 years and by now, I’ve learned that everyone has an opinion and you have to have a thick skin to work in this business,” she wrote. “It’s a visual medium and sometimes your outfit works and sometimes it doesn’t.”
Her explanation didn’t satisfy all observers on social media, who felt that Ms. Chan’s employer acquiesced to the demands of people who emailed the station to criticize her outfit choice.
Last fall, wardrobe choices (or lack thereof) for female meteorologists became a talking point after several shared photos of themselves on social media wearing the same $20 dress found on Amazon. Budget constraints, green screen concerns and chilly office temperatures are among the obstacles meteorologists contend with before they ever open their choices up to the public’s criticism.
Jen Carfagno, a meteorologist with the Weather Channel, told a writer at Slate that selecting an appropriate outfit was often her biggest cause of stress on the job.
“Don’t look too old, or too young,” she wrote in an email. “Too tight will make you look like ready for the dance club. Too baggy will make you look frumpy. Black every day is boring. Patterns are tough with the lights and camera. Staying wrinkle-free is tough. How many styles of red dresses are there anyway?”
Ms. Chan’s report has been interrupted for wardrobe-related issues before. In February, a patterned green dress she was wearing turned parts of her body transparent.