Piers Morgan defends comedian who says fat-shaming will help cure obesity

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor

Piers Morgan has defended a US comedian who spoke in favour of fat-shaming: the act of bullying, singling out or discrimination at people for being overweight.

Bill Maher made the controversial obesity comments during an appearance on his HBO show Real Time last week. The 63-year-old comedian told the audience: “Fat-shaming doesn’t need to end, it needs to make a comeback,” adding: “Shame is the first step in reform.”

The comments caught the attention of the US-based British comedian James Corden, 41, who criticised the approach on his show The Late Late Show with James Corden.

READ MORE: Woman left 'massively hurt' by fat-shaming friend

Corden said: ‘It's proven that fat-shaming only does one thing. It makes people feel ashamed and shame leads to depression, anxiety and self-destructive behaviour –self-destructive behaviour like overeating.”

Now Morgan, 54, has now defended Maher’s views. On today’s Good Morning Britain, he said the comedian had “rightly outlined” a problem.

Piers Morgan says we need to stop celebrating obesity [Photo: Getty]

“What did Bill Maher say that’s wrong?” he said. “We’ve become a society now where we don’t just tolerate morbid obesity, we celebrate it.”

He also criticised the idea of plus-size models starring on magazine covers – quite likely a reference to his feud with model and body positivity advocate Tess Holliday over her October 2018 Cosmopolitan magazine cover.

“We put people who are 320 pounds [145kg] on the cover of some glossy magazines and say, ‘Isn’t this empowering?’,” said Morgan, adding, “That’s the problem Bill Maher’s rightly outlined to me. Stop celebrating being massively overweight. I don’t know how we get people really to lose weight if we don’t say to them, come on, enough, stop.”

Later on in the show, Morgan spoke to Danni Levy, editor-in-chief of Muscle & Fitness, who said: “The more we fat-shame, the more people will keep their mouths shut and stop overeating [...] Fat-shaming encourages people to lose weight.”

READ MORE: Slim people are not ‘morally superior’

Fat-shaming has been scientifically proven to have a harmful effect on overweight people, according to Healthline.

“Instead of motivating people, fat shaming makes them feel terrible about themselves, causing them to eat more and gain more weight,” says the website.

Earlier this year, an obese woman revealed the fat-shaming response she received when going to the gym.

In the Twitter post, the user, who refers to herself as Ms Moon, says she weighs 320 pounds (145kg) – likely putting her in the “obese” BMI range. She claimed gyms are “terrifying” for her and others of her size.