Television personality and celebrity personal trainer Jillian Michaels, best known for being a coach on NBC’s The Biggest Loser, has sparked anger within the woke body positivity movement after arguing there was no reason to celebrate pop singer Lizzo’s obesity.
“Why are we celebrating her body? Why does it matter? Why aren’t we celebrating her music?” Michaels said of Lizzo’s weight during an appearance on BuzzFeed News’s morning show AM to DM on Wednesday. “Because it isn’t going to be awesome if she gets diabetes.”
“I’m just being honest, I love her music, my kid loves her music… but there’s never been a moment where I’m like, ‘And I’m so glad she’s overweight.’”
.@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 quickly went viral across social media, with members of the body positivity movement expressing their outrage that Michaels was even given a platform and accusing her of “body-shaming” Lizzo.
More people die from complications of anorexia than any other mental illness, but sure, let’s ask for Lizzo’s bloodwork.
— Michal is Mandalorthodox (@inkasrain) January 8, 2020
If yall don’t leave Lizzo alone I swear to fucking God. @JillianMichaels participates in the diet industry & profits from us hating our bodies. Don’t listen to her. You can be fat & healthy. Besides, health is not a barometer for a person’s value. https://t.co/F0Nvbbrpv4
— Sami Schalk (@DrSamiSchalk) January 8, 2020
Jillian Michaels is a professional torturer. Why give her this space when she has whole TV shows to spout her fat phobic rhetoric already
— Bree Davies (@CocoDavies) January 8, 2020
This is so gross that you would not only allow her on your platform but that you would amplify the disgusting thing she said here on Twitter. Shame on you
— Brooke Obie (@BrookeObie) January 8, 2020
In response to the backlash, Michaels doubled down on her comments by posting a statement on Instagram that urged her followers to “prioritize their health.”
“As I’ve stated repeatedly, we are all beautiful, worthy, and equally deserving,” she wrote. “I also feel strongly 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.”
Lizzo has long faced criticism for her failure to lose any weight, having recently announced that she was quitting Twitter because of trolls.
“Yeah I can’t do this Twitter shit no more.. too many trolls,” Lizzo tweeted earlier this week. “I’ll be back when I feel like it.”
Yeah I can’t do this Twitter shit no more.. too many trolls… ✌🏾
I’ll be back when I feel like it.
— Feelin Good As Hell (@lizzo) January 6, 2020
Last month, economist and political analyst Boyce Watkins argued that part of her popularity has to do with America’s obesity epidemic.
“Rather than encouraging people to do better, we are simply lying to them and telling them that they are just fine the way they are,” Watkins tweeted. “Unfortunately, many of these people are dying from diabetes and heart disease.”
However, Lizzo did not take the comments lightly, insisting that she was popularity based on her “high energy” and musical talent.
“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 31-year-old wrote in response. “The only person who needs to do better is you.”
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 only person who needs to do better is you.
Keep my name out ya mouth & look in the mirror before you come for me.
Here’s the attention you ordered 😏 https://t.co/zXnOv4f9Dr
— Feelin Good As Hell (@lizzo) December 23, 2019