So Adam Richman, like many former fatties, has lost weight — and as is not uncommon, the former Man Vs. Food star is in the phase of where people get so excited and scared that they adamantly insist up and down that being fat is basically the worst thing a person can be and it will never ever ever happen to them again.
Adam Richman was supposed to be back on the air tonight, on Travel Channel, with a new show titled Man Finds Food. But if you’re following this story, you probably know that after an admittedly slightly raw Instagram fight, the venture has been postponed indefinitely… which seems pretty stupid.
Richman, like me, is from New York. And the vernacular here is a bit more unpolished than that in other parts of the country. Sure, what he said during the argument was rude, and as a public personality, there was a reasonable expectation it would be spun up… but off-the-air spun up? Is that really necessary? Come on, now.
It all began when the newly toned host posted a brag shot of himself in a new suit, and he’d written:
“Had ordered this suit from a Saville Row tailor over a year ago. Think I’m gonna need to take it in a little #thinspiration.”
In case you missed it, the term he used in the hashtag — #thinspiration — is definitely one that is controversial and widely disliked, as it tends to accompany (at least for women) images or ideas that impede body acceptance. It’s often associated with body shaming, and much of its content is very, very unpleasant.
A woman took Richman to task for the term, which she said “glorifies negative media self-imagery that being thin is better as opposed to any other body style.” He replied with a curt “DILLIGAF,” which stands for “do I look like I give…”
To another, he was even more terse and insulting, and he commented:
“Oh eat a bag of s***, dummy. No apology is coming. If it inspires someone to attain a healthy thinner body then that was what it was meant to do. Only f***up it seems was your dad’s choice to go without a condom… grab a razor blade and draw a bath. I doubt anyone will miss you.”
Okay. Okay. So Richman was certainly out of line and people shouldn’t speak that way and double so if they are famous, and also if we’re being honest it’s still a bit squicky when a male speaks to a female that way, right?
That said, for a lifelong New Yorker — on the internet, we are all constant suspects for the Tone Police — it’s not that shocking. We get worse verbal abuse in Midtown traffic every day. (Male, female, lizards… no one is safe.) And to deprive the rest of us of a season of Adam Richman seems a bit hasty for one blue Instagram comment.
Initially, Richman sincerely apologized, which used to be enough. He said:
“I’ve responded to internet hate recently with vile words directed at those hating me. I am sorry, I should know better & will do better.”
Later, he admitted to ABC that the vitriolic response was indeed due to his own body image stress:
“I’ve long struggled with my body image and have worked very hard to achieve a healthy weight. I’m incredibly sorry to everyone I’ve hurt.”
That has since been deleted. Yesterday, the Travel Channel — who probably can’t please anyone on the issue right now — said in a vague statement:
“Travel Channel is postponing the July 2 series premiere of Man Finds Food.”
One of the women who bickered with the host posted her side of the story on xoJane, which — and I say this as a female internet user who is opposed to thinspo and body policing — looked like a standard internet fight.
Look, Richman used really harsh words in social media debate, and it was not very nice, but since when does one moment of temper decide entirely who a person is in the public sphere?
So he lost his temper on the internet, and reverted to Brooklyn mode for thirty seconds. Who among us on the internet hasn’t? Can we please have Adam Richman back now? Because if being nasty to someone on the internet is a career disrupting offense, a lot of us (me included) are in trouble.
[Image: Adam Richman]