Sunday 19 May 2019

Criticism of fat-shaming is 'embedded within the show' - Netflix defends Insatiable following petition to have it cancelled

The show’s trailer prompted numerous complaints on social media (Tina Rowden/Netflix)
The show’s trailer prompted numerous complaints on social media (Tina Rowden/Netflix)
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Netflix has addressed the controversy over its new series Insatiable.

A trailer released last month prompted complaints on social media and a petition from social activist Florence Given calling for it to be cancelled drew 130,000 signatures.

The clip for the teen comedy series shows leading character Patty (Debby Ryan), an overweight student, being bullied and ridiculed by her peers before she is forced to have her jaw wired shut, causing her to lose weight and suddenly be deemed attractive.

The character then seeks her revenge on the bullies who tormented her.

Given called for the show to be cancelled, saying it “perpetuates not only the toxicity of diet culture, but the objectification of women’s bodies”.

“For so long, the narrative has told women and young impressionable girls that in order to be popular, have friends, to be desirable for the male gaze, and to some extent be a worthy human… that we must be thin,” she said.

Netflix's Vice President of original content Cindy Holland addressed the controversy at the 2018 Television Critics Association press tour.

Indiewire reports that she said, “criticism [of fat-shaming] is embedded within the show itself.”

Holland also said that the show’s creator, Lauren Gussis, “felt very strongly about exploring those issues, based on her experience, in an over-the-top satirical way,” and that the message of the show was to be "comfortable with yourself".

Insatiable lands on Netflix on August 10 and reviews are currently embargoed. 

However, some of the actors involved in the show have urged people to wait until they have seen it before they condemn it.

Ryan wrote on Twitter, "We’re out to turn a sharp eye on broken, harmful systems that equate thinness with worth...we're not in the business of fat-shaming."

She added, "wait and watch the show before passing judgment”.

Alyssa Miller also said that they are “addressing (through comedy) the damage that occurs from fat shaming.”

Read more: Petition to cancel Netflix show Insatiable draws more than 100,000 signatures 

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