Jillian Michaels has once again addressed backlash over her comment about Lizzo’s weight. More than a year after she was accused of fat-shaming.
In January 2020, the fitness star discussed Lizzo’s appearance during an interview with BuzzFeed News morning talk show AM to DM, during which she asked why people are “celebrating” the musician’s body.
.@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
“Why does it matter? Why aren’t we celebrating her music? ‘Cause it isn’t going to be awesome if she gets diabetes,” she said at the time, prompting backlash from critics who accused her of body-shaming the 33-year-old.
In a new interview with Carlos Watson on The Carlos Watson Show on 25 May, Michaels was asked about the controversy, with the TV personality revealing that she wishes she’d handled the topic differently.
Explaining that “every single time I do an interview [Lizzo’s] name comes up,” the 47-year-old continued: “I’ve never once actually brought her up, she has been brought up to me. And I would like to separate her from the issue, if at all possible, and I should have done that the first time I was asked.
“I should have said, let’s separate an individual from a conversation about health. And that is where I genuinely went wrong.”
Ultimately, Michaels said that we should not be celebrating people based on their physical characteristics, but rather that celebration of a person should be because of the “quality of their character” and that obesity has “has no merit on the quality of the human”.
“We need to celebrate individuals. We shouldn’t celebrate somebody because they’re big, we shouldn’t celebrate somebody because they’re small,” she said.
However, according to Michaels, bringing Lizzo into the conversation is “literally the only place that [she] will tell you that [she] went wrong”, as she still asserts that obesity is dangerous to one’s health.
“Obesity is just unhealthy. That’s it,” she claimed, before telling Watson that she believes it is her duty to educate the public as an “expert”.
“When you are an expert in a category, you have a responsibility to tell the truth, whether it makes you popular or not,” she continued.
Michaels then referenced various statistics to back up her comments about obesity, telling Watson that “seven out of 10 Americans are on medications for an obesity-related disease” and that obesity is the “top contributor to mortality rates over anything else going on in the world”.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who “have obesity, compared to those with a healthy weight, are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions”, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and types of cancers.
However, the health organisation also notes that “obesity is a complex health issue resulting from a combination of causes and individual factors such as behaviour and genetics”.
Michaels’ latest comments come after she previously released a statement following the initial backlash, in which she said that she hopes we “love ourselves enough to acknowledge there are serious health consequences that come with obesity”.
— Jillian Michaels (@JillianMichaels) January 9, 2020
Lizzo is out here minding her business not bothering anyone.