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"This poor woman — every single time I do an interview, her name comes up. She must want to die," the 47-year-old fitness trainer said this week on The Carlos Watson Show when asked about the drama. "I have never once actually brought her up, I would like to make that clear. She has been brought up to me and I would like to separate her from the issue, if at all possible. And I should have done that the first time I was asked. I should have said, 'Let's separate an individual from a conversation about health.' And that is where I genuinely went wrong."
Michaels added, "That is literally the only place I will tell you that I went wrong."
The "issue" was raised during a January 2020 interview with BuzzFeed's morning show AM to DM, where Michaels criticized plus-size pride. When the interviewer said she admired celebrities like Lizzo and Ashley Graham for their body positivity, Michaels said of the "Juice" singer, “Why are we celebrating her body? Why does it matter? Why aren't we celebrating her music? ‘Cause it isn’t going to be awesome if she gets diabetes."
"I’m just being honest," continued Michaels. "I love her music, my kid loves her music, but there’s never a moment when I’m like, ‘I’m so glad she’s overweight.’ Why do I even care? Why is it my job to care about her weight?”
Michaels, a former trainer on NBC's The Biggest Loser, was slammed on social media and Lizzo herself shared a mantra on Instagram, believed by many to be an indirect response. "This is my life. I have done nothing wrong," she wrote. "I forgive myself for thinking I was wrong in the first place. I deserve to be happy."
Later, Michaels responded by tweeting, “As I’ve stated repeatedly, we are all beautiful, worthy, and equally deserving. I also feel strongly that we love ourselves enough to acknowledge there are serious health consequences that come with obesity — heart disease, diabetes, cancer to name only a few. I would never wish these for ANYONE and I would hope we prioritize our health because we LOVE ourselves and our bodies.”
.@JillianMichaels on Lizzo: "Why are we celebrating her body? Why does it matter? Why aren't we celebrating her music? 'Cause it isn't gonna be awesome if she gets diabetes." pic.twitter.com/FkKBd8J87b
— AM2DM by BuzzFeed News (@AM2DM) January 8, 2020
"If the conversation is about celebrating obesity, I would tell you that we need to celebrate individuals," Michaels told Watson. "We shouldn't celebrate somebody because they're big, we shouldn't celebrate somebody because they're small. We should celebrate somebody because of the quality of their character."
"Obesity is just unhealthy — that's it," she said. "And it has no merit on the quality of the human. They're not connected. They're two totally separate issues. So the fact that these things have become interwoven in some bizarre, politically correct alternate universe is an absolute shame. Because we're not doing anyone any favors."
Michaels, who has earned a black belt in Muay Thai and runs a fitness empire added, "When you're an expert in a category, you have a responsibility to tell the truth, whether it makes you popular or not."
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