Adam Richman, former host of the food orgy known as Man Vs. Food, has recently slimmed down and has made the rounds of TV and print media discussing his healthy new lifestyle and hot new body. He's also recently called a woman on Instagram who he didn't agree with a cunt. Because he's not just a celebrity, he's a person.
If you visit Adam Richman's twitter now (he's looking good! Congratulations!), you will see that the top tweet is an apology of sorts. A half-hearted "I'm sorry" and then another tweet saying something about how being a celebrity is hard. He's not wrong. Being a celebrity is hard, especially when you can't respond to internet strangers without resorting to misogyny and suggestions of suicide.
Recently, Richman posted a photo on his Instagram documenting his weight loss. It's a great picture but some viewers had a problem with one of Richman's tags: #Thinspiration. While Richman can, of course, post whatever he wants, when one is a public figure one should expect that some people might not be pleased with the choices you make. And Richman can, of course, politely ignore and block dissenting views, but he chose to go another way. Because being a celebrity is hard.
Adipose Activist, who sent us screenshots of Richman's interactions, has this to say about the thinspiration trend, which may seem innocuous at first, but may be more problematic than it appears:
thinspiration is very popular in pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia circles, generally consisting of pictures of emaciated bodies, mantras like 'what's more important, that slice of pizza or a thigh gap?' and suggestions, tips, and motivation to either starve or purge. (Regardless of whether or not you agree with dieting, starving or purging are things that should never be encouraged.) Without context, thinspiration may not seem like a bad word, but a simple google search proves that it was created by a community of people with eating disorders to inspire each other to continue and celebrate their illnesses.
Adipose Activist also points out on her blog that the tag #thinspiration is one that Instagram keeps behind a content advisory, asking users to agree to view graphic and adult images. With that in mind, one of Adipose Activist's followers tried to explain to Richman why his use of the tag was wrong. The original comment was deleted, but this is how Richman responded:
After this comment, Adipose Activist posted to her own Instagram asking her followers to explain to Richman why the term was so controversial. Yes, it was an internet pile-on and it may not be the best way to do things, but neither is referring to followers as cunts or telling them to eat a bag of shit, both things that Richman did in subsequent comments:
Classy. Here's where Richman should have remembered that he is a celebrity and realized that his comments on an Instagram followed by over 92 thousand people would be picked up. But even more importantly, as someone who's had issues with weight, it's surprising that he's not more empathetic to those that might be concerned about a tag that promotes unhealthy eating and dieting habits as well as encouraging ideals that are both impossible or dangerous to reach.
Even though Richman promised that no apology was forthcoming for the whiny babies who were trying to silence him, he posted this apology on Instagram yesterday:
While Richman's apology is a step in the right direction, it also appears disingenuous. He claims that he would have never used the term if he knew about its connotations, but when numerous people tried to explain to him (allegedly politely) why it was problematic, he didn't take it down nor did he ignore commenters; he doubled down and he acted like a giant dick. And even after the apology was posted, Richman took to his Twitter to explain why anyone even noticed that he had engaged in a flamewar with commenters. Again, it's because he's a celebrity, and not because he made rude and inflammatory comments to relative strangers about a hashtag.
Well, at least he's not wrong about something.
Lead Image Via Getty
Screenshots Via Adipose Activist