The Casual Racism of Jillian Michaels
While the phenom known as “Lizzo” was busy taking a break from her touring schedule to help the people impacted by the fires in Australia, Jillian Michaels of “The Biggest Loser” fame parked her no doubt “firm” ass on a sofa to chat with Alex Berg of Buzzfeed’s AM 2 DM, and it was from that sofa that Jillian made an ass of herself and proceeded to let her racism fly.
The 16:09 minute interview is painful in its entirety. It is a mishmash of the cliché and the downright strange, but one thing it demonstrates is this: Jillian Michaels might be the kind to drop out of a triathlon — as she did in Malibu in 2013 — but otherwise, she really (and truly) doesn’t know when to quit and leave bad enough alone.
Things were pretty weird from the start, but took a turn for the even more bizarre when Alex Berg talked about body positivity and cited Ashley Graham and Lizzo as examples of women known for taking the topic mainstream. In response to this, Jillian jumped in head first to criticize Lizzo’s body without ever acknowledging that fat white celebrities exist.
When Alex Berg tried to give Jillian the opportunity to walk back her racist comments, Jillian unapologetically — and recklessly — continued forward.
As she chugged along on her train wreck interview, Jillian claimed to have read a lot of studies. However when citing the nebulous “a lot of studies,” she pointedly failed to mention one done in 2016 and published in the journal Obesity. The study followed 14 contestants from Jillian’s show “The Biggest Loser” and outlined the abject long-term failure of the emotionally and physically abusive methods employed by Jillian Michaels to “help” contestants lose weight.
People all over social media were quick to call Jillian out on her fat-shaming and racism, but true to form, Jillian doubled down. Apparently the “a lot” of studies she’s read have also not included the many that prove that fat-shaming actually causes those who are the target of it to gain more weight, but as Jillian Michaels made clear in the interview, she doesn’t care about truth, she only cares about Jillian.
Body positivity is about embracing yourself as you are, whether you are fat, have vitiligo, scars from cancer, or suffer from cerebral palsy or Parkinson’s disease.
Body positivity is about not hating the place you live — your body.
But back to the inherent racism of Jillian Micheals.
In her tirade against body positivity, Jillian continued to single out Lizzo and deliberately overlooked famous large white bodies — Melissa McCarthy, Ashley Graham, and Tess Holliday, all fat, all white, and all wildly successful — to focus on a celebrated large black body. The only conclusion I can draw from this is that at her core, Jillian is a stone cold racist who has no talent outside of being rude.
Lizzo does not need me to rush to her defense — she has talent and energy to spare and is too busy changing the world to be worried about one white racist — but as a society we need to stop validating the likes of Jillian Michaels — smug racists with their asses parked on sofas whining about whether or not large black women will develop diabetes.
I will never be the singer, songwriter, entertainer, or dancer that Lizzo is, but if Lizzo taught me nothing else this week, it was this: I’d rather be 100% that bitch than the biggest loser.