What Piers Morgan Needs to Hear (Transcript, Episode 64)

(Ash)

Hello, welcome to The Fat Lip, the podcast for fat people, about fat people. I’m your fat host Ash, and if you read the title of the episode today, you probably know what this is about. Last week, fat model Angelina Duplisea was on Good Morning Britain, and Piers Morgan was a real dick. Not that that surprises me or anyone ever. 

Just a warning for people with eating disorders or trauma related to O words, those are things that are going to come up a lot in this one. 

Okay, so let’s back up. A couple of weeks ago Miley Cyrus started teasing her new music video for her song “Mother’s Daughter” by posting some stills on Instagram. One of those was of Angelina Duplisea, a superfat model, lounging naked on a chaise. And, of course, instagram exploded. 

Now, I want to say, first of all, that I do think it’s super fucking important for mainstream celebrities to normalize marginalized people in their videos, and I’m really glad that Miley Cyrus did this. It’s probably a little more for press and controversy than it is for social justice–I don’t necessarily think that Miley Cyrus is interested in fat liberation–but nevertheless I do think that it is helpful. 

What is incredibly unhelpful, though, is that there isn’t someone on Miley’s social media team moderating the comments. Like I think if you are going to use fat bodies or trans bodies or disabled bodies in this way, you need to be paying someone to clap back at trolls. Fat people shouldn’t have to rally to defend our humanity in these situations. If you’re going to use a fat person (or a trans person, or a disabled person) in this way, pay someone to tell trolls that they’re fucking wrong. 

So yeah, anyway, that all happened, and Angelina Duplisea was the fat model in question. So then this week Angelina was invited to Good Morning Britain to talk about the video and the backlash. Which meant that she had to speak to Piers Morgan. 

Now, we all know that Piers Morgan is a fucking jerk. And like, I’m not convinced that Piers Morgan even believes half of the things he says. He certainly likes to hear himself talk, and I think most of the time the things that comes out of his mouth are only vaguely based on his own real convictions. I think he’s playing a role. Like I feel similarly about that fool Alex Jones–that dude doesn’t actually believe half of the shit he says–he’s saying it because he’s built this entire character around controversy and conspiracy and now he has to stay in character to get paid. 

Anywayyyy that was a tangent, but the point is that I think half of Piers Morgan’s opinions are just him developing an opinion that will get him more press. And I think that 100% worked in this interview with Angelina Duplisea. 

I will say, though, to start, that Susanna Reid, Morgan’s cohost, was lovely and she immediately made the point that she feels like it’s important to represent all kinds of bodies in media. I wish she’d been able to get a word in edgewise most of the time because way too much air was devoted to Piers Morgan being an asshole than the world needs. 

And for Piers Morgan’s part, he WAS a real shitheel. He started the discussion with stats. He said Angelina was 36, 5’4, 390 pounds, gave her BMI, and then literally read the entire BMI chart–what BMI is normal, what is overweight, etc., etc., until, of course, he emphasized that Angelina’s BMI constitutes MORBID OBESITY.

Now I know that everyone who is listening to this knows this already, but because we’ve got some more hate listeners now (more on that later) I’m going to go through what BMI really is quickly. BMI was developed not by a medical researcher or health professional. It was developed by a statistician in the 19th century, and it was never meant to measure health. It wasn’t even meant to be applied to individuals. It was developed to determine the height to weight ratio of a population.

It’s also not even very accurate. Because of its overly simplistic calculation, it can’t make a distinction between the weight of muscle and the weight of fat. It can’t account for things like water retention. Because of these huge limitations, BMI cannot accurately measure fatness or thinness. And it definitely cannot measure fitness. Plus, BMI was developed from research on men only. There used to be an entirely different formula for assessing height to weight in female populations, but now all genders are forced into the BMI framework.

So now we live in a world where doctors base treatment plans and insurers base coverages and premiums on this absolutely useless chart that doesn’t actually mean anything. And, worst of all, people like Piers Morgan consider the thing cannon and yell at people on TV about it. 

So Piers gets through this thing and only really does it to make the point that Angelina is morbidly obese and is thus certainly going to die young. Worth noting here, also, that when Piers read Angelina’s stats earlier, he said she was 36, which is not true. She is 46. And I don’t know if this was on purpose or not, but this is definitely a convenient thing that people do when talking about the dangers of fatness. People who are invested in anti-fatness often make the point that very fat people don’t live long. I can’t tell you how many comments I get on Instagram saying I won’t live to see 30. I’m 36. And people continually say “there are no fat old people” but I know many of them. My very favorite great aunt was superfat and lived well into her 70s. There are fat activists still alive who have been doing this work since it began in the 1960s. There are plenty of fat old people. Diet culture just erases them because acknowledging that fat people do live long, full lives would tear apart its major talking points. 

So he says Angelina is 36 when she’s really 46, and that’s important because people believe that all superfats have heart attacks and die in their 30s, and if she’s 46, they cannot easily explain this. It’s too challenging to their worldview. 

I keep going on tangents, but okay, so Piers rattles off the BMI scale, tells Angelina that she’s morbidly obese and that putting morbidly obese people in music videos is glorifying obesity. And then we go off the rails a little bit. And I understand why she went there, but this gets a little uncomfortable. Angelina responds to Piers’s allegation that her mere presence in the Miley Cyrus video is dangerous and glorifies obesity by saying that if Piers Morgan actually cared about glorifying obesity that he would take himself off the air because he’s fat too. 

And like I totally get her point–that Piers doesn’t actually care about whether fat people on tv is a public health concern and that, if he did, he would consider his own presence on TV a glorification of obesity as well and consider that also dangerous. I also just get the impulse to try and make Piers Morgan see how ludicrous it is to suggest that the mere existence of a fat body encourages other people to become fat.

But I think the net effect doesn’t really land here. What it sounds like to people who see fat as the ultimate insult is that Angelina has been backed into a corner and is just lashing out at Piers because he’s being mean to her. It sounds to them like Piers hurt Angelina’s feelings by calling her fat, so now she’s trying to hurt his by calling him fat back. I don’t blame Angelina at all for the way this comes off–she’s doing her best in a hostile environment, and this dude is a real tool. 

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(Ash)

Okay, so back to Good Morning Britain’s interview with superfat model Angelina Duplisea. Before I thought just Piers and Susanna were involved here, but now there’s suddenly another guest named Chloe Goodman who is apparently an actress, and she says things like quote “A morbidly obese person promotes an unhealthy message.” which is so fucking silly because a fat person’s existence or presence in a room does not promote any message other than that the people who invited them value diversity. My photo on the internet is merely a record that I exist in this moment in time. Angelina Duplisea’s image in a Miley Cyrus video is merely an acknowledgement that fat bodies exist too. 

Chloe Goodman also says “I can’t accept someone who is really unhealthy.” which is a blatant lie. I’m sure Chloe Goodman has no problem accepting terminally ill people or people with disabilities. I’m sure she accepts plenty of people suffering with addiction or with mental health issues. What Chloe Goodman can’t accept are fat people. Full stop. And not because of our health. She can’t accept fat people because she doesn’t like the way we look. 

What people like Piers Morgan and Chloe Goodman hate is that fat people can dare to be seen in the bodies that Piers and Chloe fear having. People like this have a deep, abiding fear of being fat–of looking too big or of having visible rolls. They spend all of their waking hours working to avoid fatness. They are fucking miserable for it. And when a fat person comes along and is not toiling in that same misery and is not hating every extra inch of themselves, Piers Morgan and Chloe Goodman get really fucking angry. How dare a fat person just exist without shame or apology. Every time an internet turd posts some violent garbage on a fat person’s selfies, this is where it comes from–the fuming anger that a fat person dares to not hate themselves the way that they do. 

Chloe is just full of gems like this, though, and at one point she says “If we had put someone who was anorexic on a music video, there would be an uproar.” First of all, anorexia is a debilitating illness, not a body type. We can’t diagnose very thin people as anorexic merely because of the way they look. That’s fucked up. We do that in the fat community a lot, and it’s not okay. Just as you can’t determine the health of fat people by looking at us, you can’t determine the health of thin people by looking at them. This is a rule that we ALL must follow. And yes, there would be an uproar if a very very thin person was in a music video because we live in a world where people think they have a right to comment on other people’s bodies. And that would be just as fucked up as the uproar we are also seeing surrounding a very fat person in a music video. 

Like I don’t know what Chloe Goodman considers an uproar, but 20,000 comments on a photo on instagram, coverage from multiple news outlets, and an argument with Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain does indeed constitute an uproar if I’ve ever heard one. Like what world does she live in that the majority of people are being supportive of Angelina Duplisea naked on a chaise in this video? Because I want to go live in that world. 

Also worth noting here: there was an uproar over multiple people used in that Miley video. One of the other performers featured is Aaron Phiilip, a trans disabled woman, and the comments on the Instagram still are similarly vile. Again, Miley should be paying someone to moderate this shit. 

Anyway, this Good Morning Britain circus just keeps going and hilariously, Piers Morgan keeps saying “with great respect to you” to Angelina which is the most bullshit ever. And then he says quote “I would respect you more if you did a fitness campaign where you attempt to lose 100 pounds.” and Angelina responds in the best way by just saying “Keep dreamin’ babe.” 

What ultimately follows that exchange is great stuff–Angelina explains that diets fail 95% of the time which is important information that rarely gets acknowledged in mainstream media. Piers appears to know this and for some reason suggests that Angelina should try anyway which is the most nonsensical thing ever. What I’d add here is that for most people diets and weight cycling have considerably more negative effect on health than just remaining at a steady high weight. These are things, though, that people who are invested in anti-fatness cannot hear or comprehend. They hide behind the “it’s not healthy” argument and when you tell them that their recommendations are actually MORE unhealthy for fat people, they cannot compute.

At this point Piers goes on to say that he believes that a little bit of fat shaming is a good thing –because of course he’d say that. Sounds like a him thing. He says that when people tell him he’s fat, it motivates him to eat less or exercise more to get some weight off. Unfortunately science disagrees with him again. A University College London study is only one of multiple that found a correlation between fat shaming and weight GAIN, not loss. Also this actually proves that Piers Morgan knows that dieting doesn’t work long-term. If it did he wouldn’t repeatedly cycle between fine and fat-enough-that-people-tell-him-he’s-too-fat. 

And also does he think that those 20 or 30 pounds that he’s gaining or losing makes the difference between whether he is healthy or unhealthy? Like does he think health is really like walking through a door? That there’s some weight threshold that determines how long he’ll live? 

I’m really mystified by people who think this way, clearly. It really makes absolutely no sense why people ascribe such incredible value to health when it is so subjective and intangible. Is anyone ever truly “healthy” by these standards? “Health” is such an arbitrary set of standards and measures and all we really use it for is to police people and demonize behaviors and bodies. And like why? What does it matter to us? I am genuinely perplexed by this.

I guess I’m on another tangent here because now I’m thinking about something that’s been happening to me this last week. On instagram on Wednesday my Fatness Spectrum chart was reposted by some fitness dude with 30 thousand followers. And like this happens all the time, But this is a fatlogic turd. If you’re unfamiliar, there’s a subreddit called FatLogic that sprang up after the FatPeopleHate subreddit was taken down. Basically it’s just FatPeopleHate in a cleaner package–the same garbage and vitriol but without the blatant hate speech that got the former deleted. I’ve been featured on FatLogic several times now, and there are people who are hate listening to this podcast right now that came from FatLogic. Hi guys, thanks for boosting my download numbers–I appreciate you. 

Anyway, so this fitness dude reposted my Fatness Spectrum graphic and then I got a sudden influx of trolls. I immediately filed a DMCA claim (which is a copyright claim) and his post was taken down pretty quickly. The dude just ended up posting a youtube video about it, though, and in it he said he couldn’t believe I would file a copyright claim because he just really wanted to have a discussion about it. Why do these fools think fat people will fall for this. He was literally wearing a shirt that says “OBESITY KILLS” when he said this. He is clearly not interested in actually listening to fat people.

And, for my part, I am certainly not interested in defending my humanity to a dude like that. Nor am I interested in explaining to him why and how I came up with “infinifat” which was what was really pissing him off. This guy basically uses FatLogic and his anti-fat acceptance garbage to promote his personal training business, and I’m not fucking here for that. I’m certainly not going to debate him now or ever about it, and I’m going to block every troll that lands on my instagram photos with some anti-fat bullshit. So keep ‘em coming. Especially because my engagement is looking GREAT this week, and this is really helping me shake the trees so the rotten fruit falls out. My block button has been getting quite a lot of use. 

Anyway, what is clear here is that anti-fat goofs like Piers Morgan and Chloe Goodman and whoever this fitness troll is are not actually interested in listening to fat people. They invited Angelina Duplisea on Good Morning Britain so they could try to rattle her. Piers Morgan and Chloe Goodman were never going to be able to hear that Angelina Duplisea is helping so many young fat people by being visible. Actually listening to us would mean they have to lay down their negative feelings about their own bodies, and none of these people are ready for that yet. Maybe someday they will be. 

Credits:

Thank you as always to Starcrusher for the music you heard on today’s show and on every episode of The Fat Lip. Hear more at cstarcrusher.bandcamp.com

And thank you to Big Fig for sponsoring us today. Go to BigFigMattress.com and use the promo code FATLIP at checkout for $100 off of your purchase and to let them know I sent you. 

Thank you to our Patreon Patrons! The Patron of the day is Jamie. Thank you Jamie for your support! If you would like to support the show for as little as $1 an episode or $2 a month, go to patreon.com/thefatlip to learn how. 

Don’t forget to follow on social media! All of those links can be found at the top of thefatlip.com. I’m most active on Instagram (which has not been all that active lately, but now that this move is over I should be getting back into the swing of things.) 

Okayyy I think that’s all I have for you today. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with a new episode. Thanks for listening, and I’ll see you next time. Bye!

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