U.S. meteorologist shuts down viewer who criticized her for not using husband's last name

Abby Dyer doesn’t have a problem using her maiden last name on television.

The Missouri-based meteorologist with KY3, an NBC affiliate, recently spoke up after receiving criticism for not using her husband’s last name on air.

On March 19, an anonymous viewer sent the meteorologist a letter, asking if Dyer was “ashamed” of her husband. She signed the letter ‘Single Girl.’

Last week, Dyer shared her response to the viewer on Facebook.

“I am happily married. Most of my posts and commentary are about the weather — since that’s my job — and not my personal life,” she wrote on the social media site.

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“But you don’t have to look hard through my posts to find photos of my family that I have shared publicly with the world. You may also have noticed that I wear my wedding ring proudly every day.”

She added her and her husband made the decision together for Dyer to keep her name on air.

“I’m sorry you felt the need to write such a malicious note without ever considering I may have thought about this decision very carefully.”

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In the letter, the anonymous viewer pointed out two of Dyer’s colleagues used their husband’s last name after getting married. “I know my husband would be irritated if I continued to use my maiden name,” the viewer wrote.

“I bet the reason for this maiden name obsessed with, is you want men to think you are hot and a single girl.”

Social media users react

Many social media users responded to Dyer’s response, supporting her decision to keep her maiden last name.

“Abby, I’m sorry someone felt the need to write this. Unfortunately, she doesn’t realize it is very common to use maiden names on air. Sincerely, your co-worker who is also happily married and uses her maiden name,” user Kadee Brosseau wrote.

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“Dear anonymous, as a former TV reporter I used my maiden name for security reasons because of busybodies like you! Most women I worked with used a maiden or fake name to maintain privacy for their family. You see when you work in TV, everyone thinks they know you and feel the need to give their opinion about everything from the colour of your lipstick to what you wear,” user Kelly Townsend-Cook wrote.

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Others said this was a step backward for women.

“Thank you, Single Girl, for just setting women’s rights as far back as your wedding day. I’m really surprised you were able to get away from the kitchen long enough to dig out the Brother typewriter to pen this obviously heartfelt note about succumbing to tradition,” user Sundee Bumgarner wrote.

“My wife kept her maiden name — it is not a requirement to change your name. And for those out there who think Abby is wrong to do so, remember it was her choice not yours,” user Wayne Dunard wrote.

Speaking with Today.com, Dyer said the decision was very personal to her.

“Not just because anchors use their name for continuity for their career, but for me it was really personal. At the time, my husband had a dangerous public job. We did it mainly for safety so they couldn’t connect the dots.

“In the letter, it calls out a few co-workers who did change their names,” she said. “It’s like, we can both be right! This decision was for me,” she continued.

Women who report on weather are often targeted by viewers — many have been criticized for their outfit choices, weight or a combination of both.

In 2016, meteorologist Liberté Chan was handed a sweater during her live weather report after viewers complained about her bare shoulders. 

“I was wearing a black, beaded sparkly dress and, apparently, the station received a slew of negative emails from viewers saying the dress was inappropriate for air,” Chan said in 2016.

“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. It’s a visual medium and sometimes your outfit works and sometimes it doesn’t.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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