Jillian Michaels defends Lizzo comments after fans accuse her of body-shaming

The former “Biggest Loser” trainer took issue with “celebrating” Lizzo’s body — then the internet took issue with her.
Former "Biggest Loser" trainer Jillian Michaels is accused of body-shaming after she failed to embrace Lizzo's body-positive message.
Former "Biggest Loser" trainer Jillian Michaels is accused of body-shaming after she failed to embrace Lizzo's body-positive message.Getty Images

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
SUBSCRIBE
/ Source: TODAY
By Ree Hines

Lizzo’s rise to fame isn’t just a testament to her bangin’ tunes. The woman TIME magazine recently named the 2019 Entertainer of the Year is just as loved for loving herself — as is, without apology or explanation — and for encouraging others to embrace themselves just as they are.

But celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels isn’t embracing that message.

When Buzzfeed News’ “AM to DM” host Alex Berg asked the former “Biggest Loser” star about Lizzo’s brand of body acceptance, Michaels bristled.

“Why are we celebrating her body? Why does it matter? Why aren’t we celebrating her music? Because it isn’t going to be awesome if she gets diabetes?” Michaels said. “I love her music. My kid loves her music. But there’s never a moment where I’m like, ‘And I’m so glad that she’s overweight!’ Why do we even care? Why is it my job to even care about her weight?”

The Twitterverse obviously cared, because the 45-year-old’s comments went viral just hours after the interview.

Trending stories,celebrity news and all the best of TODAY.

Even Berg took to Twitter afterward to clarify her own stance on the topic after many called her out for failing to challenge Michaels.

“What I was going to say here is that Lizzo has been incredibly important in giving so many of us a possibility model for accepting our bodies as we are and celebrating bodies that are normally ridiculed,” she wrote. “Had to restrain myself from defending Lizzo's honor!”

Lizzo is just as loved for her message of body positivity as she is for her music.Rich Fury / Getty Images

Michaels’ comments come just days after Lizzo made headlines of her own for leaving Twitter due to the negativity stirred up by “too many trolls.”

However, before the singer-rapper-flautist took a break from the social media site, she skewered another outspoken personality for crediting her popularity to the “obesity epidemic in America” and for criticizing her body-positive message in lieu of “encouraging people to do better.”

“I’m popular because I write good songs and I’m talented and perform high energy hour and a half shows filled with love,” she wrote to social commentator and author Dr. Boyce Watkins. “The only person who needs to do better is you."

Lizzo has not yet responded to Michaels’ comments, but others have on her behalf.

Fans flooded social media with messages of support for the woman who’s known for lyrics like, “If I’m shinin’, everybody gonna shine,” including celebrity fan and fellow love-yourself-as-you-are enthusiast Jameela Jamil, who specifically took issue with Michaels' alleged health concerns about Lizzo’s weight.

“Just saying... MY WHOLE DAMN THIN FAMILY HAS DIABETES AND HIGH CHOLESTEROL AND PROBLEMS WITH OUR JOINTS,” the “Good Place” star wrote in response to Michaels. “Why is This woman acting like she’s an MRI? Stop concern-trolling fat people and get in the bin.”

And while Michaels isn’t backing away from her comments about the “Truth Hurts” singer, she tried to put a positive spin on them when she doubled down in a post to Instagram Wednesday.

“As I’ve stated repeatedly, we are all beautiful, worthy, and equally deserving,” she wrote. “I also feel strongly that we love ourselves enough to acknowledge there are serious health consequences that come with obesity – heart disease, diabetes, cancer to name only a few. I would never wish these for ANYONE and I would hope we prioritize our health because we LOVE ourselves and our bodies.”

Michaels' stance where Lizzo is concerned may not be popular with fans of the musical sensation, but it’s not exactly surprising from the woman who’s crafted her personal brand around diet and fitness. After all, the celebrity trainer has made similar comments in the past about her belief that the body-positivity movement is “endangering people.”

Last year, she told Women’s Health U.K. that although “nobody should ever be body shamed or fat shamed,” that “obesity in itself is not something that should be glamourized. But we’ve become so politically correct that no one wants to say it.”

From Lizzo’s perspective, her message of self-love has never been about political correctness or personal bravery. She simply believes that recognizing beauty, in all its forms, should be the norm.

"When people look at my body and be like, 'Oh my God, she's so brave,' it's like, 'No, I'm not,'" the 31-year-old told Glamour in August. “I'm just fine. I'm just me. I'm just sexy. If you saw Anne Hathaway in a bikini on a billboard, you wouldn't call her brave. I just think there's a double standard when it comes to women."