Dove beauty brand accused actor Brendan Fraser’s makeup artists of fat appropriation after “The Whale” won an Oscar for best hair and makeup, criticizing the film for profiting from the prominent use of a fat suit on actor Brendan Fraser.
The conversation began with someone who complained on Twitter that Hollywood studios were appropriating the identities of people who would not have needed such makeup to perform the role, arguing that they should cast only fat actors to play the roles of fat characters.
“So disappointing that ‘The Whale’ won the Oscar for best hair and makeup. Fat suits are harmful — they are not your opportunity to win awards. Our identity is not your costume. Cast fat actors to play fat characters. #TheWhale #fatphobia #fatsuit #Oscars,” @KBHeylen tweeted.
Stop giving fat suits awards ‼️ We want better representation in Hollywood. #LetsChangeBeauty
— Dove (@Dove) March 13, 2023
Dove responded with an affirmation, calling on Hollywood to “Stop giving fat suits awards!!” and adding, “We want better representation in Hollywood. #LetsChangeBeauty.”
Some responded to Dove’s tweet by pointing out the fact that the weight being portrayed in the film was not just unhealthy — it was proving to be lethal for Fraser’s character.
“Maybe because being 600lb is massively dangerous, and film studios would rather use prosthetics and makeup than an actor who might not even survive the film?” the Critical Drinker replied.
Maybe because being 600lb is massively dangerous, and film studios would rather use prosthetics and makeup than an actor who might not even survive the film? https://t.co/kSFkd6DF7C
— The Critical Drinker (@TheCriticalDri2) March 14, 2023
A number of critics quickly called out the company, telling them to stick to making soap (or complaining about the quality of the soap they already make).
But The Daily Wire’s co-CEO Jeremy Boreing offered an alternative for those who didn’t like Dove’s products — or didn’t like the trail of woke residue they left behind.
“Many people are unaware of our expanding product line at Jeremy’s Razors. Our soap is exceptional. Our shampoo and conditioner are sublime. Body wash, moisturizer, cleanser, beard oil …” Boreing tweeted in response. “We’re building alternatives.”
Many people are unaware of our expanding product line at Jeremy’s Razors. Our soap is exceptional. Our shampoo and conditioner are sublime. Body wash, moisturizer, cleanser, beard oil…
— Jeremy Boreing (@JeremyDBoreing) March 14, 2023
As for Fraser — who gained a fair amount of weight for the role in addition to donning the “fat suit” — and director Darren Aronofsky, the intent was never to trivialize obesity and make it “a costume.”
'The Whale' star Brendan Fraser and director Darren Aronofsky spoke to Newsweek about fat suit critics at the UK premiere of their movie. pic.twitter.com/ffToAoWZG2
— Newsweek Culture (@NewsweekCulture) October 14, 2022
“I’m not a small man,” Fraser said at the film’s U.K. premiere. “And I don’t know what the metric is to qualify to play the role. I only know that I had to give as honest a performance as I can.”
“There’s no way you can cast someone to play this job so we had to create and we had to use makeup to get there,” Aronofsky added, suggesting that many of the people who were criticizing their use of makeup had not even seen the film. “The film is about bringing empathy to two characters that you don’t expect to feel for.”
“The Whale” took home two Academy Awards: one for best makeup and hair, and the other to Fraser for best actor in a leading role.