Activists slam ‘insulting and triggering’ billboard in Times Square

Body acceptance advocates are slamming a billboard in Times Square for body-shaming. The billboard in question reads, “Feeling fat and lazy?” printed above an image of a woman in workout gear holding her head in her hands in defeat.

Critics have blasted the 50-foot sign, saying it’s a blatant example of fatphobia.

One of those critics is influencer Matthew Anchel, who told the New York Post that the sign “really pissed me off, especially in a city that is supposed to be the center of acceptance and open-mindedness.”

“My jaw dropped,” Anchel added, describing the moment he first saw the billboard. “I thought, ‘Can you believe this?’ The messaging was so insulting and triggering.”

Anchel said he has filed a complaint with the Times Square Alliance (TSA) and called for the billboard to be taken down but added that the organization has not yet responded to him.

“I am a fat person who believes in fat liberation and can confidently say that fat is not a feeling,” he told the Post.

Comments flooded onto Anchel’s Instagram post about the billboard, a lot of them in total disbelief that someone in this day and age would think it was acceptable to pay a reported $13,000 to spread such a message.

“How is this OK?” a commenter asked.

“The target for this isn’t actual fat people (such as myself),” another commented. “This is textbook diet culture, and I’m so glad I know how to not let this nauseating display of privilege bother me anymore.”

The use of “fat” in this instance goes against what fat liberation activists have spent years pushing for — the destigmatization of the word. In The Know’s Kelsey Weekman previously wrote about how “fat” is really just a neutral adjective turned into an insult because of its false association with fatphobic concepts, like “lazy.” This billboard only further pushes for an unhealthy and stigmatized relationship to the word “fat,” which, in turn, negatively impacts the way fat people are treated.

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