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Entertainment & Arts

Jillian Michaels loves Lizzo’s music, but doesn’t get why we celebrate her body

Lizzo performs at the Forum in Inglewood in December.
Lizzo performs at the Forum in Inglewood in December.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Jillian Michaels loves Lizzo’s music. She just doesn’t understand why she’s supposed to celebrate Lizzo’s body as well.

And that has the singer’s significant fan base feeling hot hot hot.

No, the fitness trainer and former “Biggest Loser” coach didn’t specifically go after Lizzo. She simply responded to a question about the singer from the interviewer on BuzzFeed’s “AM to DM” show on Wednesday.

Michaels was asked about celebrities like Lizzo and model Ashley Graham, who are loud and proud about big bodies that challenge a stereotypical view of body positivity.

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“I love her music, yeah, 100%. Don’t know anything about her. I’m sure she’s a cool, awesome chick,” Michaels said. “But why are we celebrating her body? Why does it matter? That’s what I’m saying. Why aren’t we celebrating her music?

“Because,” the trainer and life coach said, “it isn’t going to be awesome if she gets diabetes.”

“I love her music. My kid loves her music. But there’s never a moment where I’m like, ‘And I’m so glad that she’s overweight.’ Why do I even care? Why is it my job to care about her weight?,” Michaels said.

And that’s most of what was in the clip that circulated on Twitter, which was what most people seemed to be reacting to when they started condemning Michaels for, well, everything.

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“What a pathetic excuse of a human,” tweeted National Book Award finalist Tressie McMillan Cottom.

“Jillian Michaels hates her own body and is worried that if other people hate their bodies less, they’ll stop buying [what] she peddles. She’s worried about the bottom line, not Lizzo’s health (or yours, or mine.),” tweeted comic and author Sara Benincasa.

Overwhelmingly, Michaels was called a fat-shamer, a racist, jealous, ugly and washed up by the crowd that celebrates acceptance. Lizzo’s ability to perform a long, active concert was brought up as an indicator of her health. The F-bomb was dropped more times than F-bombs can be picked up.

Many in the pile-on were offended by Michaels’ comments in part because Lizzo is black.

“The unhealthiest thing about Lizzo is the unrelenting national obsession with whether her body is ‘acceptable,’” tweeted singer Brad Walsh. “People really love to inspect and dissect a black woman’s physical “form to determine whether she ‘deserves’ to be loved. Stop it.”

Amid the conversation, Michaels posted an unapologetic response to her critics.

“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 that 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.”

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Lizzo, notably, did not comment — presumably because she bailed on Twitter a few days ago, citing “too many trolls.”

But a dust-up that she shut down around Christmas suggests the singer would have a quick explanation for any celebration.

“I’m popular because I write good songs and I’m talented and perform high energy hour and a half shows filled with love,” she wrote to a man on social media who said she was popular only because there was an obesity epidemic in America. He also invoked the risks of diabetes and heart disease.

“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,” Lizzo tweeted in response to a body shamer’s opinion that the singer is popular because America has “an obesity epidemic.”


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