Barbara Ciara’s beef with a bully

Posted at 3:10 PM, May 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-13 15:16:29-04

Online bullying is a real thing.

Perhaps, you have been a target.

We often receive hateful emails and comments about our appearances or the topics we’re reporting.

Today anyone can hack out their random thoughts and press the send button, and create a new email address.

Most of the time I wonder aloud, what are these people thinking when the remark is especially unkind or hateful, but we all know the answer is they are probably not thinking at all.

This is an email I opened from a gentleman viewer after our broadcast earlier in the week —  typos and all.

“All the female reporters and anchors wear litlle to no jewelry but B Ciara wears the biggest and worst jewelry I have ever seen, please have her play by all same rules as every one else.”

And this is how I replied:

Gentle viewer,

Thank you so much for watching News 3.

I read your email with a great deal of interest. On a day where a multi-million dollar lawsuit was filed against one of our regional jails, A Navy Seal lost his life during training, The Mayor of Suffolk delivered her state of the city address, and an overlooked neighborhood in the East End of Newport News finally gets a grocery store– you noticed my jewelry.

Perhaps you are correct, you are so distracted you didn’t hear a word I said.

Have a blessed day,

Barbara Ciara
Celebrating 38 years in Broadcasting ‪#‎beenaroundtoolongtobebullied

For reference, here’s a few pictures of the necklaces I wore this week: 

Since I posted this on my Facebook page (as of Friday afternoon), it has reached over 30-thousand people and has been shared many times.  This kind of email bullying has apparently hit a nerve with some folks.

We all witness how some people feel empowered by social media, how they can hide behind the keyboard. Years ago I would get a thoughtful letter in the mail.  Sometimes that letter was critical about the content of news coverage or the lack of what we covered, but it had a return address and the tone was polite, and they invited me to call them on the telephone if I wanted to discuss further.

As my friend Cathy Lewis, a seasoned Journalist of three decades, opined when she first read this post:

“I too, am at an age where I’m just not sitting still for this stuff anymore. You are welcome to chat me up about the work I do or anything I’ve said on the air. But you are not welcome to comment on my appearance because I assume you would not do that to anyone else with whom you did not have a relationship where that was Ok. That’s a line I’ve recently drawn and I feel much stronger for it.”

We, the targets of your email bullying, say it’s not OK.