“Today” show host Megyn Kelly sparked outrage on Thursday when she said some women want to be fat-shamed, in order to be motivated to lose weight.
Kelly was speaking with fitness blogger Maria Kang, who has herself been accused of fat-shaming.
“Some of us want to be shamed,” Kelly said. “When I was in law school, I was gaining weight. I said to my stepfather, ‘If you see me going into that kitchen one more time, you say, ‘Where you going, fat a--?’’ And it worked!”
Kang was criticized in 2013 for posting a photo on Facebook that showed her with toned abs next to her three toddlers under the phrase, “What’s your excuse?”
Kang has since changed her motto to, “What’s your reason?”
Kelly addressed her comments on Friday:
“Close to forty percent of Americans are obese. They need support, they need kindness and one thing they definitely do not need is to be body-shamed. I said something yesterday on the show that clearly struck a nerve, and I think it's a conversation we need to have openly. We were discussing body shaming others, something I absolutely do not support,” she said.
“The View” co-host Meghan McCain was quick to criticize Kelly’s original comments that praised fat-shaming.
“I was publicly (fat-shamed) early on in my career and it sent me to therapy,” she tweeted. “Trust me, there are real life ramifications for fat shaming of any kind, it is NEVER acceptable.”
Claire Mysko, CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association, wrote, “The idea that shame is a motivator for healthy behavior is not one that is backed up by research or by anyone in our community.”
Others, however, defended Kelly’s comments.