Kit Steinkellner
September 07, 2015 10:22 am

Recently, comedian Nicole Arbour posted a video on her YouTube channel entitled “Dear Fat People” that came under fire for fat-shaming. When you watch the video, it’s easy to see why so many people believe this video is not comedy, as Arbour argues, but rather good old-fashioned ignorant and mean-spirited bullying.

“Fat-shaming is not a thing,” Arbour argues in the video. “Fat people made that up. It’s the race card with no race.”

She then goes on a tangent about protected groups (AKA people who are not white, people with disabilities, and the LGBT community) and the “cards” they play, a tangent that shows she does not have much of a grasp on what it’s like to be a member of one of these groups. But, the title of this video is “Dear Fat People,” and she quickly turns her attention back to the people whose weight she has deemed unacceptable.

“I’m not talking about the people who have a little more cushion for the pushin’,'” Arbour qualifies. “And if there are people watching with a specific health condition, this is not aimed at you. I’m talking about the 35% of Americans who are obese.”

Arbour then goes on to recount a particularly mean-spirited anecdote in which she encountered a “fat” family at the airport, mocking, among other things, the way they looked and smelled, and the tactile experience of sitting next to one of them on an airplane.

Arbour says many cruel things over the course of this video, things that make it clear that she doesn’t have a whole lot of accurate knowledge re: the relationship between weight or health, much of a handle on the body positivity movement, or, the difference between supporting a healthy life-style and shaming people for the number on the scale. Time and time again she insists that she’s making this video to “help” people whose weight she finds unacceptable:

“The truth is, I really hope this bomb of truth exploding into your face will act as shrapnel that seeps into your soul and makes you want to be healthier so we can enjoy you as human beings longer on this planet.”

The problem is, so much of what she says in the video seems so vitriolic and hate-fueled, it’s hard to take these occasional stabs at what she deems kindness very seriously. Arbour is a textbook example of concern trolling — couching her bullying in the argument that she’s “just trying to help.” It’s no easy thing for a person to be overweight in America. Anyone who has had it rough because of their size does not need Arbour’s help AKA  six minutes of non-stop bullying. And if Arbour was really concerned about obesity in America and she had really done her homework, she’d know that science shows that those who are discriminated against and harassed because of their weight are actually more likely to gain weight. It is troubling that Arbour made this video in the first place, and it’s almost more troubling that she seems to think that her cruelty can be a real force for good in the world.

Apparently, YouTube was also troubled by Arbour’s shaming video, so much so that, as CNN reports, her channel was temporarily shut down. Arbour took to Twitter to respond to the situation:

After pushback from Arbour and the media coverage that ensued, the channel was brought back up yesterday morning. Arbour again took to Twitter to celebrate the return of her channel. Nowhere in her public statements does it show that she researched her opponents arguments or really thought much at all about why her video hurt so many people. This is a shame. Knowledge is power, and we are sure Arbour would be both a better comedian and a better human being if she took the time to do real research when it comes to constructing her comedy.

Related:

Not OK: Equality in fat-shaming is still fat-shaming

The latest effects of weight shaming, according to science

(Image via YouTube.)

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