Television personality and Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels has come under fire for criticising Lizzo’s body and the self-acceptance that she espouses as a public figure. After Alex Berg, host of BuzzFeed’s AM2DM show, mentioned Lizzo’s body-positive politics, Michaels launched into a lengthy tirade. “I’m sure she’s a cool, awesome chick … but why are we celebrating her body? Why does it matter?” she asked. “Why aren’t we celebrating her music? It isn’t gonna be awesome if she gets diabetes … there’s never a moment where I’m like ‘I’m so glad that she’s overweight!’”
Michaels ended her speech by asking “Why do we even care? Why is it my job to care about her weight?” — a mildly counterintuitive thing to ask, considering she evidently cares very much about Lizzo’s weight.
.@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 Biggest Loser, Michaels’ main vehicle to fame, has been heavily criticised for its extreme and at times incredibly dangerous approach to weight loss, a fact that was not lost on many Twitter users criticising the trainer. “Jillian Michaels participates in the diet industry & profits from us hating our bodies,” wrote race and disability researcher Sami Schalk on Twitter. “You can be fat & healthy. Besides, health is not a barometer for a person’s value.” Another user concurred, writing “Stop pretending to care about health. It’s a thinly veiled excuse to vocalise & promote your bias.”
Lizzo, who recently attained her first Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 with her track “Truth Hurts,” has been lauded by fat activists and body-positivity advocates for her unapologetic visibility as a fat black pop star in the public sphere. In interviews, she has spoken candidly about the immense toll that a lack of body positivity has taken on her mental health, telling The Guardian “When you don’t see yourself, you think something is wrong with you.”