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African-American Reporter Takes Stand After Body-Shaming

Comments criticizing WFAA Channel 8 News traffic reporter Demetria Obilor over her clothing choice instead sparked outrage over body-shaming.

A woman's comments that an African-American female news reporter in Dallas "looks ridiculous" in her clothes has sparked outrage on social media.

Wednesday morning, a woman on Facebook posted a photo of WFAA Channel 8 News traffic reporter Demetria Obilor wearing a red dress, criticizing the way she looked in her dress. The post has since been taken down.

"She's a 16/18 woman in a size 6 dress and looks ridiculous," the post said. The woman also said she would stop watching the news channel.

Image: WFAA 8 Dallas traffic reporter Demetria Obilor.
WFAA 8 Dallas traffic reporter Demetria Obilor.Courtesy Demetria Obilor

Obilor, 26, has been a traffic reporter at the station for two weeks. She was previously a traffic reporter at KLAS-TV in Las Vegas. She said she wasn’t made aware of the post until Friday when someone posted a screenshot of the post on Twitter.

"I'm not a 16/18, but even if I was, for you to try to call out my size like that to hurt me or discriminate against me, I'm not for that," she told NBC News.

Having been in the business almost four years, she said she isn’t hurt by the comments and has thick skin.

"When you get older and you’re in the news people warn you that, 'Hey, you're going to be under a harsh lens. People are going to critique you, people are going to say mean things about you,'" she said.

This isn't the first time Obilor has been attacked over her looks. Over the summer, while a traffic reporter in Las Vegas, she shared a screenshot of an email from a viewer who said her natural hairstyle must be hard to clean and "smell bad."

Obilor isn't alone. Rhonda Lee, a former meteorologist in Louisiana was fired for responding to a viewer who said her natural hairstyle didn't "look good on TV."

Obilor, whose mother is white and father is Nigerian, said some people must accept that we now live in a time where styles and body types once rarely seen in media are now being embraced.

"Black people on TV; there’s nothing wrong with that," she said. "Naturally, curly hair — I don't care if a black woman wants to wear her hair straight or in braids, you don't get to say what's professional and what's not professional based on your white standard of beauty."

Obilor said her news colleagues have been supportive of her. NBC News reached out to WFAA Channel 8 News but has not received a response.

She has also received support on social media, with people thanking her and telling her she is beautiful. Chance The Rapper retweeted a post about Obilor that has been liked over 100,000 times.

Meghan McCain, daughter of Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., thanked Obilor for "speaking out against body shaming."

Obilor said she will not allow negativity to hold her back. She said it's time to set a new standard in society and not allow this to happen any longer.

"It's not about my unhurt feelings," she said. "It's about what's acceptable in society and how we, as people in the media, we have to make things right."