Megyn Kelly, during an interview on Thursday with “Fit Mom” Maria Kang on her NBC show, “Megyn Kelly Today,” appeared to endorse fat-shaming as an effective weight-loss technique.
Kang, a fitness coach, was viciously shamed on social media (and elsewhere) five years ago when she posted a photograph of herself and her three kids, the youngest of whom was less than a year old at the time. The photo sported the provocative headline slogan, “What’s Your Excuse?”
Many criticized that 2013 photo, claiming it was meant to shame mothers who were not as fit or as good-looking as Kang.
Kang vehemently denied that intent. She maintains she wanted to encourage other new mothers to get in shape.
In the controversial segment on television today, Kelly advised Kang — who was discussing her Facebook page followers — to “parlay the shaming thing into a professional business.”
That part could be passed off as a joke, possibly — but then Kelly went further. And that’s where she went off the rails.
“Some of us want to be shamed,” the former Fox News personality said. “When I was in law school and I was gaining weight, I said to my stepfather, ‘If you see me go into that kitchen one more time, you say, Where are you goin’, fat *ss?'”
The icing on this unpalatable cake? Kelly ended her bizarre advice by saying, “It works.”
To recap: The host of a popular morning show on broadcast television with thousands of viewers said that fat-shaming is a great way to lose weight, and that folks might even be able to make a viable business out of it.
[lz_third_party align=center width=630 includes=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eS3vrZZyoRs]
Ironically, Kang — the individual Kelly was interviewing — was on the show to debut an intentionally less provocative slogan for the original photo that led to the bullying accusations. The updated photo now reads, “What’s Your Reason?” But kicking it off on a show in which the host suggested fat-shaming was a great idea was a social media nightmare.
The response on Twitter was fast and furious. Viewers, moms, fellow celebrities, and many others slapped back at Kelly for what they saw as irresponsible or even dangerous advice. Among the most vocal was Meghan McCain, fellow former Fox News personality, current co-host of “The View,” and the daughter of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
She wrote on Twitter: “I was publicly fat-shamed early on in my career and it sent me to therapy. Trust me, there are real-life ramifications for fat-shaming of any kind. It is NEVER acceptable. We should be fostering a healthy culture that celebrates all women of all sizes.”
The vast majority of other comments about Kelly’s questionable advice about fat-shaming had a similar tone — and rightly so.
Below is a sampling.
- “What Megyn Kelly classifies as a weight-loss technique (fat shaming) is also known widely as bullying in most other contexts.”
- “Jokes like that sent my eating disorder into overdrive …”
- “Megyn Kelly, I cannot think of a woman alive who wants to be fat-shamed. We should be working toward a culture that celebrates all women, all sizes. That you’d suggest otherwise is anti-woman and dangerous.”
- “Megyn Kelly said asking her stepdad to fat-shame her was a good thing. Can you imagine internalizing so much hatred of yourself and your body you’d demand your loved ones to hate you, too?”
Michele Blood is a freelance writer based in Flemington, New Jersey.