Late-night host James Corden of CBS publicly rebuked Bill Maher on Thursday night for saying that society needs to bring back “fat-shaming.”
Last week, HBO host Bill Maher set off sparks when he publicly called for fat-shaming to return to society in some way or another to combat the obesity crisis. His comments came in response to the Democratic Party’s push for free healthcare while neglecting the fact Americans are increasingly unhealthy.
At next Thursday’s [Democrat presidential] debate, one of the candidates has to say, “The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat s**t… and too much of it.” All the candidates will talk about their health plans, but no one will mention the key factor: the citizens don’t lift a finger to help [obesity]. … We scream at Congress to find a way to pay for our medical bills, but it wouldn’t be nearly the issue it is if people just didn’t eat like a**holes. … What’s Elizabeth Warren’s plan for that?
Fat-shaming has to make a comeback. Some amount of shame is good. We shamed people out of smoking and into wearing seatbelts. We shamed them out of littering and most of them out of racism. Shame is the first step in reform.
In the same monologue, Maher did not say that only fat people should be shamed, but noted that society has come to a point where smokers are hectored regularly while obese people are coddled.
On Thursday night, James Corden, who admitted to having struggled with weight throughout his life, publicly called out Bill Maher for not understanding the obesity problem and even argued that “fat-shaming” would make the situation worse by making people feel helpless and depressed.
“There’s a common and insulting misconception that fat people are stupid and lazy, and we’re not,” Corden said, according to Variety. “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.”
“Fat-shaming is just bullying,” he added. “And bullying only makes the problem worse.”
Corden later noted that the American obesity epidemic is a complex issue, stemming from poverty and even genetics.
“Now Billy is right about one thing. This really is a health problem,” Corden said. “It’s an issue that needs to be discussed clearly and honestly. It’s an epidemic, and when you look at the numbers it’s terrifying. There are numerous reasons why people live their lives at an unhealthy weight. Junk food. Portion control. A lack of exercise. These are all major contributing factors. But poverty is also an issue.”
Corden concluded by accusing Maher of having a “sense of superiority” while advising him to think about his choice of words.
“We’re not all as lucky as Bill Maher. We don’t all have a sense of superiority that burns 35,000 calories a day,” he said. “In the meantime, Bill, while you’re encouraging people to think about what goes into their mouths, just think a little harder about what comes out of yours.”