B.C. news anchor refuses to ‘sit in the shame’ after critical email about her cleavage, goes public instead

A Vancouver Island news anchor who was shamed by a viewer for wearing a shirt that showed a touch of cleavage says she’s been harassed about her appearance before, but this time it was hard to ignore.

After Sunday night’s broadcast on CHEK News, Kori Sidaway received an email from someone signed by “The Vancouver Island Cleavage Patrol” that warned “Too much cleavage can break your news story.”

The email included a photo of Sidaway wearing a white shirt during that night’s newscast next to another photo showing a closeup of a woman’s cleavage in a deep V-neck that ends below her breasts. These photos, according to the message, show “What you think we see and what we actually see.”

The message was sent to Sidaway’s boss, the station’s advertising team and just about everyone in the newsroom.

“It seemed like they were going for the jugular with that,” Sidaway said.

The implications of the message made it worse than the average snarky comment from a viewer about her clothes or face.

“Not only am I responsible for my own work, my own appearance, but now I’m responsible for the imagination of others,” she said.

Normally, Sidaway and her female colleagues support each other privately when they receive inappropriate comments from viewers, something that is not uncommon.

But this time, she felt that wasn’t enough, and decided to post about the message on social media.

“I just didn’t want to sit in the shame. I didn’t want to internalize the harassment,” Sidaway said.

“I decided to repurpose the photo to something powerful because I think I do look powerful. I think I look fabulous. I think I look professional. I think there’s nothing wrong with that photo.”

‘I’m ready to wear this outfit again’

Since posting the message on Monday, Sidaway has received a flood of support, including messages from female journalists across the country about similar experiences dating back decades.

“We have been policing women’s bodies … for eons,” Sidaway said.

But that’s not the only feedback.

“There’s people that disagree, that think that this [outfit] is inappropriate for broadcasting, and I’ve had those people message me,” she said.

She also received a few truly nasty messages, including people encouraging her to try pornography.

Sidaway has been on the air for about two years, and said she was just starting to get comfortable experimenting with her clothing when this happened.

She said she’ll try not to let this experience affect her clothing choices going forward, but knows it will likely nag at her for a while.

“That being said, I’m ready to wear this outfit again and I’m going to wear this outfit again on Saturday,” she said.

Read more at CBC.ca