Thursday, 14 May 2020

Bill Maher – Fatphobe, Eating Disorder Denier, and COVID-19 Misinformation Source

Bill Maher is using his platform to spread misinformation about fat people, COVID-19, and eating disorders.Bill Maher is a long-time weight bigot who is always too happy to use fat people as punching bags for ratings. Chrystal Bougon e-mailed me to let me know that on his May 8th show, he took it farther in a rant that Chrystal aptly said was “ridiculously reckless and chock full of misinformation and the last thing the world needs right now.”  The stuff in quotes is what he actually said. It may be triggering so you can skip that part and still get the gist of the post.

I know people hate to hear that message, and I hate to say it, but it’s the truth: the core of this problem in this country, one reason—obviously besides the Trumpian nonsense—is that we, as a country… you look at the numbers from other countries around the world, not nearly the amount of deaths because they don’t have the same obesity profile.”

Maher is so fully committed to being a weight bigot, and so devoid of a sense of responsibility for the drivel that he spouts, that he is comfortable using his platform to state his opinions as if they are facts in the service of perpetuating fatphobia (and, of course, ratings and profit) and misleading people about a global pandemic.

When we talk about health disparities in the US vs other countries, the first thing we have to talk about is that, unlike those countries, our healthcare system is not predicated on the idea that everyone should have access to healthcare. Rather, our system is based on the idea that healthcare should be controlled by the wealthy and ransomed for an amount of money that they decide makes them uber wealthier enough.

We have to talk about how that is exacerbated by the ever-growing wealth gap as the politicians who are bought by the wealthy give them what they paid for by funneling ever more money to the already wealthy, shifting it from the working class and poor, including the social safety net.  That causes health disparities that harm marginalized communities, including fat people.

Then of course there are all the ways that fatphobia directly affects fat people’s healthcare (including the fact that doctors can be so busy trying to make us smaller that they forget all about making us healthy, sometimes at the price of our lives.) \

But sure, let’s continue to create more stigma against the victims of this fatphobia. Good call Bill.

In discussing Adele’s weight loss he said:

“And by the way, the old Adele would not fare as well with COVID-19.”

This is a ridiculous statement. The notion that feeding your body less fuel than it needs so that it will consume itself and become smaller – aka dieting – will lead to improved COVID-19 reaction is seriously questionable. Especially considering that one study has found that “weight loss, even at a moderate rate, is associated with a decrease in the function of certain aspects of the immune system.”  Regardless, Bill Maher is obviously not in any position to be giving an educated opinion on this.

And of course, we’ve already talked about the serious issues with linking being fatter to COVID-19 risk.

He also read a tweet that someone else had written about the Adele situation that asked  “Did we again push another sane person in the spotlight into eating disorder?”

Then Bill Maher actually connected his brain to his mouth to say “The eating disorder is eating too much! This is insane that they think an eating disorder goes in the other direction.”

And all I could think to say was  – are you fucking kidding me with this bullshit you ignorant fuck? Neither “consuming more food than a television host thinks you should” or “having a body that a TV host associates with eating more food than they think you should” qualify as an eating disorder, I doubled checked the DSV-5 just to be sure,

However, there are a number of eating disorders that do exist that involve food restriction, they happen to people of all sizes, and they can be deadly. And they are rooted in exactly the kind of fatphobia that Bill promotes for profit.  (And that’s not even getting into the fact that binge eating disorder is heavily linked to food restriction.) If you are, or think you may be, dealing with an eating disorder, please know that resources are available, I encourage you to reach out.

When it comes to his love for weight stigma and fat-shaming, with someone like Bill Maher you never know – does he actually believe the bullshit he is selling? Does he just want ratings and he knows that cultural weight stigma means that he can harm fat people without repercussions without repercussions? Does he have issues with food/body-image that he is weaponizing against fat people?

Whatever is at the root, this needs to stop. This is ex-fucking-actly what the world does NOT need right now, or ever.

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