Filming of My 600-LB Life has been put on indefinite hiatus amid the spread of the coronavirus. One columnist suggests that it should never come back.
Like most reality television and scripted shows, the TLC docu-series is in a holding pattern as the spread of the coronavirus has led to nationwide shutdowns. Though the show continued filming until close to mid-March — which NBC News noted was even after health experts offered guidance to people to stay at home as much as possible — it has since been shuttered.
The stay was not without controversy. The Hollywood Reporter noted that one subject was in a hospital on lockdown, and others being filmed for the show were told not to discuss the coronavirus in their filming. It took complaints about the safety of filming for the show’s production crew to stop after claims were made that it was an “essential” business, the report noted.
But as NBC News noted, the pause in the show could give TLC a chance to reflect on the ethical concerns of shining a light on people struggling with dangerous and morbid obesity, noting that this has become a theme across programming for the network. Columnist Derrick Clifton suggested that the pause could be a chance to bring a shift in the way people struggling with obesity are portrayed.
“Hopefully, placing more empowered fat people both in front of and behind the camera and in writer’s rooms can continue to help shift this paradigm. Because sadly, like many things in entertainment (and in life), sometimes we have to see it to really believe it,” he wrote.
The show has already run into a number of complications due to the delicate health of the people featured. Over the course of the last few years, a number of patients featured have died either after filming or during production itself. This week, former patient James King died after he had dropped close to 200 pounds from his once 800-pound frame.
Others have struggled with mental health, including James “L.B.” Bonner, whose death last year was ruled a suicide. As The Inquisitr reported, the man’s family has filed a lawsuit against TLC claiming the production was negligent in how he was treated. They claimed that Bonner had reached out to the production company several times and was in severe distress, but he was reportedly advised to “fake it until you make it” rather than being directed to proper treatment.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.