Stranger Things star calls out Hollywood's treatment of "fat actors"

·3-min read
Photo credit: Frazer Harrison - Getty Images
Photo credit: Frazer Harrison - Getty Images

Shannon Purser – best known for playing Barb Holland in Stranger Things and Riverdale's Ethel Muggs – has called out how "fat actors" are treated in Hollywood, particularly when it comes to casting.

Taking to Twitter, the 25-year-old said: "They’re not hiring fat actors for iconic fat characters because they want a big name star."

She went on, "There are almost no fat big name stars because fat actors aren’t allowed upward mobility. We aren’t allowed upward mobility because the industry sees us as two-dimensional set pieces."

Although not directly linked, her comments came just days after the first trailer for the remake of Matilda – in which Emma Thompson wears a fat suit for her role as Miss Trunchbull – was released, once again reigniting the topic of conversation about the use of fat suits in film and television.

"The new Matilda adaptation looks fun but did we have to put Emma Thompson in a fat suit with facial prosthetics," one person tweeted. "I'm sure there are thousands of talented actresses that could play Miss Trunchbull who actually fit the role's body type."

"I can't believe someone would agree to put a thin person into this costume for Matilda the musical. The original was already fat phobic enough but now they put Emma Thompson into a fat suit," another person added.

A third person wrote: "I'm a fat actress, and it's almost impossible for fat actresses to get work. As I sit here typing this, I'm not even sure I'm going to be able to pay my rent this month. Anyways, here's Emma Thompson in a fat suit..."

Last year, Renee Zellweger came under fire for wearing a fat suit to play Pam Hupp in The Thing About Pam. Body confidence content creator and curve model, Jess Megan, branded her use of a fat suit as "another grim message to talented fat actresses that despite the fact that they have the lived experience of existing in a body like that, a thin actress would still somehow play the role better."

Sadly, seeing thin-bodied actors wear fat suits for their roles is nothing new – Sarah Paulson came under scrutiny for wearing a fat suit to play Linda Tripp in American Crime Story: Impeachment, Gwyneth Paltrow famously wore one for her starring role of Rosemary in 2001's Shallow Hal, while Courteney Cox did the same for the "Fat Monica" flashbacks in Friends. But, perhaps as more and more people speak out against the use of fat suits, the tide could very well be turning and we may finally see the last of them.

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