Comedian Nicole Arbour shared a YouTube video last week criticizing fat people, and her controversial jokes quickly swept the Internet. But a certain TLC star—not to mention thousands of commenters—isn’t having it.
Last week, the Canadian actress and Youtuber, 30, uploaded what she called a “satire” piece, titled “Dear Fat People,” in which she goes on a rant encouraging society to “shame people who have bad habits until they f—— stop.” She also compares fat people to zombies and the Frankenstein monster, and claims that “helping” obese people is like assisting suicide. (The video had half a million views before her channel was suspended by Youtube.)
It now has close to 21 million views on Facebook, and 1.3 million on YouTube since Arbour’s account was reinstated.
Though Arbour’s not without supporters, the backlash was immediate. Writer Lindy West at The Guardian called it “six minutes of tired cruelty filed under ‘entertainment.'” And countless others slammed it on social media.
TLC’s Whitney Way Thore, who stars in the reality series My Big Fat Fabulous Life, issued a 6 and a 1/2-minute video rebuttal refuting Arbour’s controversial statements point-by-point. The clip has already collected nearly 150,000 views and more than 2,000 comments in just a few days.
In Arbour’s original post, she says that “fat-shaming is not a thing” and that “fat people made that up,” even going as far as to liken it to playing the “race card with no race.”
Thore, 31, right off the bat calls out Arbour in her own video for disregarding fat-shaming all together: “Fat-shaming is a thing. It’s a really big thing—no pun intended. It is the really nasty spawn of a larger problem called body-shaming, which I’m fairly certain everyone on the planet, especially women, has experienced.”
Thore also didn’t take too kindly to Arbour’s attempt to exclude people with specific health conditions from her rant. Thore has polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal problem, which is often associated with weight gain.
“So I’m so glad you’re not talking about me, except you are talking about me because you can’t see a person’s health from looking at them,” Thore says. “The next time you see a fat person, you don’t know whether that person has a medical condition that caused them to gain weight. You don’t know if their mother just died. You don’t know if they’re depressed or suicidal or if they just lost 100 pounds … Let me hammer this one home; You cannot tell a person’s health, physical or otherwise, from looking at them.”
Research has shown that fat-shaming doesn’t aid weight loss. In fact, a study published last year in Obesity found that people who have experienced ridicule or abuse due to being overweight are actually more likely to gain weight.
Thore’s full take-down of Arbour’s unfunny (if not mean and unhelpful) video covers everything wrong with this line of thinking better than we ever could. Be sure to watch it in full.