Fitness expert and personal trainer Jillian Michaels was slammed this week for stating the obvious—obesity causes health issues.
In an interview with BuzzFeed News’s morning show, “AM to DM,” Michaels was asked to comment on political correctness in the health and fitness industry. Michaels stated that she abhorred fatshaming, but that obesity should not be glamorized. The host then turned the conversation, asking why the public can’t promote plus-size celebrities such as 31-year-old singer Lizzo, who weighs over 200 pounds.
Michaels replied: “Why are we celebrating her body? Why does it matter? Why aren’t we celebrating her music? … Cause it isn’t going to be awesome if she gets diabetes.”
.@JillianMichaels on Lizzo: "Why are we celebrating her body? Why does it matter? Why aren't we celebrating her music? 'Cause it isn't gonna be awesome if she gets diabetes." pic.twitter.com/FkKBd8J87b
— AM2DM by BuzzFeed News (@AM2DM) January 8, 2020
The interview went viral, being watched more than 2.4 million times by Thursday morning, and causing a controversy around health vs. self-love. Michael’s was criticized for being “fatphobic” for stating the obvious: 1. Lizzo is obese, and 2. Obesity causes a myriad of health problems like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and stroke.
Supporters of Lizzo and her fatness responded on social media.
“Stop concern-trolling fat people and get in the bin,” actress and activist Jameela Jamil tweeted Wednesday, including an emoji of a person throwing away trash.
Just saying… MY WHOLE DAMN THIN FAMILY HAS DIABETES AND HIGH CHOLESTEROL AND PROBLEMS WITH OUR JOINTS. Why is This woman acting like she’s an MRI? Stop concern-trolling fat people and get in the bin. 🚮 https://t.co/2fKVJrkWm3
— Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) January 8, 2020
In fact, the backlash against Michael’s medically-supported statement was so great she responded that same day, but didn’t cave to pressure. Michaels clarified that while people are all beautiful, worthy, and equally deserving,” she also strongly believes that “we love ourselves enough to acknowledge there are serious health consequences that come with obesity – heart disease, diabetes, cancer to name only a few. … I would never wish these for ANYONE and I would hope we prioritize our health because we LOVE ourselves and our bodies,” Michaels wrote in a statement shared on Twitter.
— Jillian Michaels (@JillianMichaels) January 9, 2020
Supporters of Michaels also addressed the controversy including comedian Josh Denny who tweeted, “As an overweight fat person, I [100 percent] agree with @JillianMichaels about Lizzo. … Accepting being fat is the same as accepting being poor or unsuccessful,” Denny wrote. “Nobody wants it; it’s a matter of how hard we want to change it. But stop disguising ‘giving up’ as ‘acceptance.’”
As an overweight fat person, I 💯agree with @JillianMichaels about Lizzo. Accepting being fat is the same as accepting being poor or unsuccessful. Nobody wants it; it’s a matter of how hard we want to change it. But stop disguising “giving up” as “acceptance.”
— Josh Denny (@JoshDenny) January 8, 2020