Jillian Michaels Faces Backlash for Comments About Lizzo's Weight
Jillian Michaels is facing some serious backlash after comments she made while appearing on AM to DM by BuzzFeed News earlier this week. When the host of the show brought up the importance of having Lizzo, Ashley Graham and other celebrities promoting self-acceptance and presenting a different type of body than what we typically see in the media, Michaels responded by asking why we are celebrating the singer's body in the first place.
"Why does it matter? Why aren't we celebrating her music? Because it isn't going to be awesome if she gets diabetes."
Michaels then goes further to say, "I'm just being honest. I love her music, my kid loves her music, but there's never a moment where I'm so glad she's overweight. Why do I even care, why is it my job to care about her weight?"
The former Biggest Loser trainer faced pretty immediate backlash since AM to DM posted the clip on Twitter Wednesday, with people criticizing her for fat- and body-shaming the singer, as well as being insensitive and fatphobic.
Michaels responded to backlash via Instagram yesterday, writing:
"As I've stated repeatedly, we are all beautiful, worthy and equally deserving. I also feel strongly that we love ourselves enough to acknowledge there are serious health consequences that come with obesity—heart disease, diabetes and 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."
Her post only continued to fuel the backlash against her, and she told TMZ that her comments had nothing to do with Lizzo's worth as a human being and everything to do with her own position as a health expert.
"Look, I'm a health expert," Michaels said. "For decades, I have said your weight and your size have no bearing or merit on your value, your beauty, your worth, your ability. Where it does have relevance is your health. And to pretend that it doesn't is not only irresponsible, it's dangerous. And it's just not a lie I'm willing to tell because it's politically correct."
Lizzo has yet to directly respond to Michaels' comments made Wednesday, but the Grammy-nominated singer did announce she was taking a break from Twitter due to too many trolls and that she will be back when she feels like it.
The singer has built her reputation around body positivity, self-love and staying true to herself. This isn't the first time she's received backlash about her weight, as she was most notably criticized last month for only being popular "because there is an obesity epidemic in America."
"I'm popular because I write good songs and I'm talented and perform high energy hour and a half shows filled with love," the singer responded. "The only person who needs to do better is you."
We talked to Lisa Valente, M.S., R.D., EatingWell's senior nutrition editor about her thoughts on the situation as a registered dietitian.
"I would say as a health expert we really need to be thinking more holistically—mental health and happiness are really important components here too. Spreading stigma and body shaming is doing more damage to people's overall health."
Valente also noted that making judgments based on someone's body size is inappropriate, and we all need to do better when it comes to our discussion about weight.
"It's never your job to tell someone to lose weight," Valente says. "We all have body autonomy and if you're not her personal health care provider, you don't know enough to say anything about her diabetes risk."