Does Morgan Spurlock’s Alcoholism Confession Make ‘Super Size Me’ A Sham?

"I haven’t been sober for more than a week in 30 years"

Morgan Spurlock, Director of 'Super Size Me', 26 May 2004, THE AGE Picture by ANDREW DE LA RUE
The AGE / Contributor / Getty Images

The 2004 documentary "Super Size Me" rocked the fast food world and launched the career of Morgan Spurlock, making him arguably the most famous documentary filmmaker second to Michael Moore.

Though anyone with even a modicum of health awareness knows that eating McDonald's for 30 days (as Spurlock did in the film) is not exactly a recipe for physical fitness, the film made some shocking claims beyond just Spurlock gaining weight. After his 30 day trial, the most alarming health scare for Spurlock was the state of his liver, which was nearly identical to that of an alcoholic. He also experienced the shakes, depression, and decreased libido.

In the film, Spurlock claimed he had no prior health problems before embarking on his McDonald's binge and had himself examined by several health practitioners to prove his point. However, recent revelations from Spurlock of having an alcoholism problem for decades may cast some doubt on his claim of being in top shape at the time.

With the #MeToo movement, Spurlock's reputation has taken a damaging hit. In December 2017, the documentary filmmaker admitted to numerous acts of sexual misconduct while simultaneously admitting he had a history of alcohol abuse. Writing in The Wall Street Journal, documentarian Phelim McAleer points out that Spurlock's history of alcoholism should call into question the veracity of "Super Size Me."

Fast-forward to December 2017, when Mr. Spurlock issued a #MeToo mea culpa titled "I Am Part of the Problem," detailing a lifetime of sexual misdeeds. As a result, YouTube dropped its plans to screen his Super Size Me sequel, and other broadcasters cut ties. But overlooked in all this was a stunning admission that calls into question the veracity of the original Super Size Me.

After blaming his parents for his bad acts, Mr. Spurlock asked: "Is it because I’ve consistently been drinking since the age of 13? I haven’t been sober for more than a week in 30 years."

McAleer rightly asks: "Could this be why his liver looked like that of an alcoholic? Were those shakes symptoms of alcohol withdrawal?"

Indeed, one of the doctors asks Spurlock in "Super Size Me" if he abused alcohol, to which Spurlock replied no.

Mr. Spurlock’s 2017 confession contradicts what he said in his 2004 documentary. "Any alcohol use?” the doctor asks at the outset. "Now? None," he replies. In explaining his experiment, he says: "I can only eat things that are for sale over the counter at McDonald’s — water included."

Now, obviously, this does not automatically make McDonald's or fast-food for that matter suddenly good to eat, but Spurlock launched an entire film career off of making these wild claims, earning him his own show on CNN, which he often used to push a left-leaning agenda.

While "Super Size Me" certainly had its truthful moments, especially its examination of the school lunch programs, could the very crux of that film be a total sham?

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