A writer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune is facing backlash after she published a scathing article criticizing a news anchor for the choice of pants she wore when reporting that authorities had found the remains of missing child Jason Wetterling. The news anchors and supporters around the country are calling out the bullying behavior and calling for the newspaper to reassign her.
The columnist, who writes under the name C.J., called news anchor Jana Shortal’s outfit “unseemly” and “perhaps disrespectful” in the celebrity section of the Star Tribune on Wednesday because she wore skinny jeans, a blouse and a blazer for the broadcast.
“Somebody at KARE 11 didn’t do Jana Shortal any favors with that wide camera shot on Tuesday’s ‘Breaking the News,’ C.J. sniped in the Star Tribune piece, which has since been removed. She went on to discuss Shortal’s fashion choices and criticized her for dressing “hip” in “skintight pants.”
Shortal responded to the columnist, whom she called the “bully with the keyboard,” on her Facebook and Twitter pages yesterday. She posted a heartfelt message about her feelings about Jacob Wetterling and the Wetterling family along with her feelings about seeing the issue turned into “gossip about my pants.”
Thank you. To each of you. Who stood up for me. Be good. Be you. No matter the bullies. They go low, we go high. pic.twitter.com/zT0Jr7XxCi— janashortal (@janashortal) September 8, 2016
In the message, Shortal talked about how she prepared for the broadcast that day, knowing that they would soon receive confirmation about whether long-missing Minnesota child Jacob Wetterling’s remains had been identified. She said that she had left the porch light on in honor of Jacob, a long-held Minnesota tradition to raise awareness of his disappearance and show support for his family.
She talked about praying, learning what happened to him, and praying again. “I did my best,” She wrote. “I gave that newscast every single shred of hope and love I had for Jacob.”
Shortal said that she was shocked to read the column the next day that “made it about my pants.”
“I wore my clothes. The clothes it took me a very long time to feel comfortable in no thanks to the bullies like you who tried to shame me out of them.”
Shortal took C.J. to task for taking the focus away from the Wetterlings and Jacob to focus on her pants and thanked fans for their support. She reminded others to focus on the important issues of Jacob’s murder and creating joy in his name, as his family had requested.
The Star Tribune has since removed the post and has issued an apology, but Shortal is insisting that it’s time for them to reassign the writer and “take away the bully pulpit.”
Ironically, the Star Tribune itself ran an article by the news anchor last June where she talked about not choosing to wear “the lady uniform” and dealing with internet bullies as a result.
“I have violated the unspoken but very loudly enforced lady uniform code since, well, birth,” she wrote, describing the jeans and t-shirts that she wore all during childhood and her teen years.
Jana wrote at the time about the fashion shaming she has received over her career because she does not dress in traditional overly female ways.
“Here is a sample of some of the insults hurled my way via the internet: ‘Do you shop in a dumpster?’ ‘My dog has better hair than you.’ ‘Your clothes are so hard to look at my TV broke.'”
She says that KARE-11 has given her permission to dress as herself, with her own style, which she now embraces.
Viewers and fans from Minnesota and far beyond have been quick to support Shortal on social media.
Here's the thing... I watched Jana Shortal on Tuesday. I honestly don't remember what she wore. I do remember her reporting.— Kirsten Brown (@kbrobaseball) September 8, 2016
Many have taken C.J. to task for focusing on the news anchor’s pants instead of the subject matter and for her lack of apology afterwards. The columnist tweeted mocking comments at Jana’s supporters.
These @janashortal fans are almost like riling up the BeyHive.— Dish Central by C.J. (@DishCentral) September 7, 2016
Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz @janashortal— Dish Central by C.J. (@DishCentral) September 7, 2016
Despite the controversy, Shortal is turning the focus back towards the true story. She has been tweeting in support of the Wetterling family.
[Image via KARE-11]