Late night host Bill Maher pissed off a lot of people this week when he made a series of fat-shaming comments on his show, specifically while making the claim that fat-shaming is a useful tool in preventing obesity which has fallen out of fashion and needs to be brought back. “Some amount of shame is good,” he said.
James Corden responded to the segment on his own show, and he has received praise from fans for handling the subject with the appropriate respect, while still managing to crack a couple of jokes, as is his job.
First, he acknowledged that Maher has never been anything but “pleasant, kind and nice” to him personally, which made his stance on fat-shaming all the more surprising.
“There’s a common and insulting misconception that fat people are stupid and lazy and we’re not. We get it, we know. We know that being overweight isn’t good for us and I’ve struggled my entire life trying to manage my weight and I suck at it. I’ve had good days, and bad months. I’ve basically been on and off diets for as long as I can remember, and well, here’s how it’s going… We’re not all as lucky as Bill Maher, you know, we don’t all have a sense of superiority that burns 35,000 calories a day.”
Corden pointed out the many factors that play a role in the rise of obesity, including genetics and socioeconomic background, neither of which were mentioned by Maher. He then addressed the notion that fat-shaming is useful in any way, saying: “If making fun of fat people made them lose weight, there’d be no fat kids in schools… And I’d have a six-pack by now.”
He also said that “fat-shaming never went anywhere,” which is true. It’s present everywhere, even in politics: making fat jokes about your opponents is considered discourse these days. Public figures are seen as fair game for cruel jokes about their appearance: Jason Momoa, Tom Brady and Rihanna have all been the target of body-shaming comments, none of which were aimed at “helping” them.
As Corden put it: “Let’s be honest, fat-shaming is just bullying. And bullying just makes the problem worse.”
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