Man Vs. Food Vs. Social Media

 

(trigger warning for eating disorders and misogynistic language)

Hey all. I’ve really let this blog fall by the wayside, what with school and work and general inability to focus long enough to write a real post, but here I am!

 

So, most of you are probably familiar with Adam Richman, the dude from Man Vs. Food, a show on the Travel Channel. (the general gist is he goes on ~eating challenges~ across the country and eats vomit-inducing portions at local restaurants. That’s it. There’s no real redeeming factor here.) I’ve never liked Adam, he’s always given off a super entitled vibe and I’ve heard many stories about people going to meet him and him locking himself in his production van or ignoring fans.

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He was a chubby dude the whole time the show was going on, but recently he’s lost a bunch of weight. D-list celebrities losing a lot of weight isn’t really a big story–being famous means there’s a lot of pressure to look a certain way. If that’s what he wanted, if it makes him feel better, good for him. I’m all for body autonomy and what another person chooses to do with their body isn’t any of my business. However, it was brought to my attention that he posted this photo:

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(caption of Adam Richman taking a mirror selfie in too big pants to show off his weight loss with the caption: “Had ordered this suit from a Saville Row tailor over a year ago. Think I’m gonna need to take it in a little…. #Victory #EyesOnThePrize #AnythingIsPossible #fitness #transformation #thinspiration”)

Just seems like another boring self-congratulatory weight loss photo. . .until we get to the last tag. Thinspiration? Oh really? Now for those of you not hip to the lingo, thinspiration is very popular in pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia circles, generally consisting of pictures of emaciated bodies, mantras like ‘what’s more important, that slice of pizza or a thigh gap?’ and suggestions, tips, and motivation to either starve or purge. (Regardless of whether or not you agree with dieting, starving or purging are things that should never be encouraged.) Without context, thinspiration may not seem like a bad word, but a simple google search proves that it was created by a community of people with eating disorders to inspire each other to continue and celebrate their illnesses. 

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(for the record. . .you kind of are a slave to your body. Whether you’re 80lbs or 400lbs, your body NEEDS food in order to, you know, function. This picture is pretty tame, google will bring up much worse photos.)

I want to stop and add that if you look up the ‘thinspiration’ tag on instagram, this user warning comes up, which means that even instagram knows that it’s a problematic term:

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A friend of mine who followed Adam saw his post, and figured that maybe he was not aware of the negative connotations of the word ‘thinspiration.’ So she decided to explain it to him politely (which sadly I don’t have a screenshot of.) This was his response:

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(DILLIGAF, aka, ‘do i look like I give a fuck?’)

Now look, we’ve all used words by mistake, we’ve all stumbled and said something offensive and didn’t realize it. It happens to the best of us, and it’s totally understandable. But when you’re called out for saying something that does active harm, especially if you’re somewhat of a public figure, you listen, you apologize, and you don’t do it again. A perfect example would be when Jonah Hill was recently demonized for throwing a homophobic slur at a paparazzo. His apology was perfect. As a public figure, even if you have a personal instagram (Adam has 92k followers) you need to understand that the things you say will be scrutinized, and the words you use have meaning. (here’s a great blog post about intent vs. impact.) You need to be extra careful to think about not how what you mean when you say things, but how other people will interpret them. And in a society where eating disorders are at an all time high, thinspiration is a loaded word.

I also posted a comment on Adam’s instagram about how the term was problematic, but it was ignored, so I made a post about Adam’s ‘DILLIGAF’ comment on my personal instagram, and asked my followers to ‘tell him that eating disorders are not a joke and nothing to take lightly.‘ My followers did just that, but I didn’t for one second predict the vitriol that followed.

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There was apparently a point where he referred to me specifically as a ‘cunt’, but he ended up deleting it before anyone got a screenshot. But yes. He told a friend of mine to kill herself, told another to eat a bag of shit, and completely went on the attack, lacking any modicum of class or decorum. He then blocked anyone who called him out (myself included) regardless of whether their comment was rude or polite.

You know what? It doesn’t feel good to be called out publicly when you do something wrong, especially by multiple people. It’s uncomfortable. But these responses are completely unacceptable. 

He then went on to ‘apologize.’ But this apology was completely invalidated in the comment section, where he waxed poetic about people being oversensitive and pandered to his fans instead. I for one am extremely disappointed by the fact that he’s obviously not learned anything from this incident.

I wonder how the Travel Channel, who employs Richman, feels about him going around calling girls cunts and telling them to kill themselves?

If you would like to report Richman’s behavior, you can do so at http://www.travelchannel.com/about/viewer-relations

ETA 6/25/14: There has been a question that has been asked over and over, which is a valid question that I will answer here. Why didn’t I post my own original comment to him? (the insinuation is that it was rude and that somehow that validates the response I got.)

Adam blocked me on instagram. While creating this blog post, I could still access his instagram via my laptop, as long as I was logged out. I could not, however, access the comments. It gave me the most recent comments without giving me an option to ‘show older’ or scroll up. By that point, my comment had been buried under three hundred or so other comments. I did not expect this post to go as viral as it has, and once it started gaining momentum I would have asked someone to scroll through the comments, find mine, and screenshot it so I could add it to this post, but by that point Adam deleted that particular picture and all the comments that went with it. I am a fan of having the whole story and it frustrates me that there are pieces missing in this post. People assume that means that my comment to him was inflammatory, but I can assure you it wasn’t. Whether people want to believe that is their own prerogative, but unfortunately at this point there’s nothing I can do about it.

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58 Responses to Man Vs. Food Vs. Social Media

  1. This truly is mind boggling. I can’t fathom being a public figure and acting like such a jackass. He’ll get his just desserts. His giant and over the top disgusting desserts.

  2. Jess says:

    What the fuck… Your friend should definitely report him for encouraging her to commit suicide. Also, if you find the direct contact for Travel channel can you post it on here? I would love to contact them as well.

  3. Alex says:

    What a disgusting waste of space he is. His network needs to give him a serious reality check.

  4. eKatherine says:

    You guys attacked his privilege. That’s the worst thing you can do. Here he not only is a white male, but he lost enough weight so his very existence should serve as an inspiration to every lesser being. How dare you imply that he’s the same nasty troll he’s always been?

  5. Shaindy says:

    Jesus. There aren’t even words for this kind of douchebaggery. I’m sorry for what you and others went through, but thank you so much for bringing to people’s attention.

  6. Wow, this is enlightening. And not in a good way. :(

  7. Reblogged this on LeslieLovesNails and commented:
    Completely of topic, but I saw this today and had to share.

    This is a sad story. To use a term like that is bad enough, but to resort to insults when it’s brought to your attention instead of either acknowledging the fact that it was used in error/without understating what it means or saying to oneself “hey, maybe I shouldn’t glamorize eating disorders by using that word….”?? So wrong. I hope he loses the ugly inside because losing weight clearly didn’t help in that respect.

    Shame on you, Adam. Shame! :(

  8. deanna mancini says:

    Wow…crazy!!! And paula deen was ostracized for something she said YEARS ago!!! Wheres this assholes public hanging????

    • Adipose Activist says:

      Well I mean. . .Paula Deen was rightfully punished for extremely racist rhetoric, so she’s no angel and absolutely deserved what she got. And as much as I dislike this dude, calling for his death is way over the top.

    • Auntie N says:

      He’s saying he was responding to “internet hate”. Huh??? He could’ve ignored the initial post abt “thinspiration” and been better off than how he initially responded.
      He went bananas..

  9. Emily says:

    My message to them :

    I have seen a blog where a member of your cast has used defamatory and threatening behaviour. I am totally disgusted with Adam Richman and his rants at people when they picked up on him using language that supports anorexia and bullemia. He told one woman to “eat shit” and told another to “take a razor and run a bath. No one will miss you”. I find this utterly disgusting and as a network who promotes him I’d like to know what actions you intend to make with regards to these outbursts. Screen shots have been saved of Adams rants and disgraceful behaviour. If you require them I’m happy to get them. Yours sincerely Miss E Barrie

  10. Mariah says:

    Why does it have to be his problem if the hashtag offends you? I mean, he is allowed to say whatever he feels.

    PLUS, isn’t it possible that he doesn’t understand why people use the hashtag…? Couldn’t it be that he just thought he was an inspiration for others going through what he accomplished (losing weight)?

    (I don’t know any guys that know there are forums and youtube channels dedicated to thinspiration and pro-ana or even what they are about. )

    • Adipose Activist says:

      As a public figure, you need to think of the implications of what you say. And if you actually read the blog post, you would understand that even if he wasn’t aware of the problematic elements of the word, once he was informed he should have stopped using it instead of lashing out at everyone who came his way.

    • Personally, I’ve seen #thinspiration used in healthy and unhealthy ways. If I were informed that, as a public figure, I was affiliating myself with an unhealthy, potentially harmful group–and that I could be misconstrued as a supporter–I would be interested and grateful (and he wasn’t). He has a right to decide how he wants to use that information and whether or not he wants to continue to self-identify with that term. BUT his reaction is another story. Whatever he THOUGHT has nothing to do with the foul, vicious, misogynistic, ignorant attacks that followed. I hope The Travel Channel will take steps to distance themselves from this kind of person.

    • Snarfle says:

      If he didn’t understand why people use the hashtag, he should have done the mature thing and simply apologized and removed it after it was explained to him. There is nothing wrong with making an honest mistake out of ignorance, but refusing to make up for that mistake and then intentionally insulting others when you are called out on that mistake is inappropriate.

    • Beth says:

      Final comment on this I promise. I look at it this way – if I’m looking for employment and the perspective employer saw these comments it would be a no go. If my current employer saw these comments I could lose my job and I work a normal 9-5… so…

  11. Christina says:

    I emailed travel channel with this:

    I recently was on Instagram where I was reading through some of Adam Richman’s comments on some of the photos he had shared there recently, as a fan of his and of Travel Channel I was appalled at what I saw.

    Not only is he hash tagging thinspiration which if you are not familiar with the term thinspiration is photographs or other material intended to provide inspiration for anorexia nervosa and Bulimia as a lifestyle choice. But a female fan of his went on to educate him that the hash tag he was using was supporting anorexia and bulimia he then replied to her and other fans that were informing him of his hash tag mistake by commenting : “DILLIGAF, aka, ‘do i look like I give a fuck?”, by calling them “fools”, “dummies”, “idiots”, “cunts”, to “eat a bag of shit”, and the worst by far was ” Grab a razor blade and draw a bath, I doubt anyone will miss you.”

    As a fan of Travel channel I would like to know what you will be doing about his recent behavior since it is you that employs him.

  12. Marie says:

    Personally I don’t think there’s anything wrong with him using the word thinspiration. I’m positive he had no idea what it meant. However, his lashback was completely out of control and I sincerely hope The Travel Channel does something about it.

  13. Katie says:

    I understand your rant and it’s fine. You have a right to free speech, just like everyone else. You have to realize that had he known the implications of using the hashtag ‘thinspiration’, he would not have used it. It’s fantastic that he has lost all of the weight that he has. He had a goal because he had been wanting to play in a Soccer Aid match for years and was never given that chance because of his size. As for his responses to people to Instagram… Would feel like you were being attacked if several people responded to something you had posted basically saying the same thing? I know I would. Especially since you have know way of knowing exactly how much attitude is coming with that comment. Just like if someone is being sarcastic through text, you wouldn’t know unless they told you. I do realize that he went a little too far in his comments. I’m not excusing him, but I’m sure he is truly sorry it went that far. You have to realize with that is that he is attacked through social media like that on the daily and that’s not something you can get used to. Sorry for my long rant, but it needed to be said.

    • Adipose Activist says:

      doesn’t matter. if you’re a public figure with a wide audience, you respond with maturity and class or you don’t respond at all. he’s not sorry at all. he’s been posting flippantly on his twitter about it.

      • Ashley D. says:

        I agree with you on this. I post videos on YouTube and get some mixed comments every now and then. I’ve learned that it’s better to not respond. Truthfully, you never get used to attacks. They always hurt. But you keep an open mind to people who might have something useful to say, and if the situation is stable, maybe a conversation can be started. If not, just don’t say anything. Simple.

    • Beth says:

      Entitled, entitled, entitled. He’s in that weird place in his career that he is surrounded by a bunch of yes men, thus leading him to believe everything he says is right, funny, and important. Therefore, he feels everything he says has value. This is the trap that many public figures fall into they think they are untouchable. I think he will find out that there are consequences for his actions. Also, I read quite a few comments on other sites blaming the behavior on weight loss… nope, sorry he’s always been a jerk that kind of anger doesn’t happen overnight.

  14. Ashley D. says:

    Wow. This is seriously disturbing. Personally, I used the “thinspiration” hashtag on Tumblr to lose weight in a healthy way. There are a lot of people who do – the hashtag is loaded with legitimately helpful suggestions, motivation, and recipes. BUT if you’re under a lot of pressure and are at risk already, you aren’t going to pay attention to these posts, you’re going to pay attention to the ones promoting anorexia. The thinspiration hashtags are loaded with healthy and unhealthy posts. I can support Adam Richman in not caring about it, because let’s be honest, just because he’s famous, he can’t be expected to know everything, and his photo in itself isn’t hurting anyone. If someone sees it and chooses something unhealthy, that’s on them. Language, especially on the Internet, can mean different things. Although not all the posts directed at him are here, he had no excuse for this kind of language and treatment of others, if this is all accurate. People see this behavior, especially from those in power, and repeat it. I would have never thought he’d be like this, but that’s the media for you.

  15. You know he is also doing commercials for Wal-Mart as well. Maybe contacting Wal-Mart would be a good thing to do as well?

  16. Also, I just sent a message to the Travel Channel. Hopefully something can come of this.

  17. sushispook says:

    Richman is making the classic white-guy mistake of “You made me feel bad, ergo you meant to hurt me, ergo you threw a verbal punch at me, and I shall respond in kind”. It’s part of the whole privileged mindset of unconsciously believing you have a god-given right to never be made to feel guilty over anything, ever (which means you’re never really going to own your own mistakes, either).

    I’m glad he apologized – but the fact that’s as far as he took it speaks volumes. Because you can claim ignorance of the baggage around a phrase, and claim for all the world to see that it was not your intent, and you *still* will have fucked up. And the reason for that is that it doesn’t matter what your intent was: It can *never* trump the fact that we live in a world with other people, and the context of their lives may have some really frightening and awful stuff attached to the usage of that word.

    He could have been classy about this and said “You’re right, I don’t know about the baggage around this word, I thought I was just using clever wordplay” and then used it as an opportunity to talk about how awful eating disorders are, and how we shouldn’t be so callous to leverage people’s terrible experiences for our clever moments. But he never took it that far: He only took it as far as saying he didn’t mean to do anything bad, which implies that he’s absolved. And that’s what he doesn’t get: It doesn’t walk back anything. Which means that all he’s interested in is himself, and not the people he hurt. The vitriol he spewed around the entire fracas just underlines and bolds that he can’t see beyond himself and how he’s been made to feel, and that’s all he’s going to ever really care about.

    • badfae says:

      I think even just apologizing for using it without knowing the possible connotations would have been good enough. It would have been the adult way to handle it. But the fact that he not only went on the offensive, but SO FAR on the offensive as to actually be cruel, indicates an absolutely stunning level of entitlement, immaturity, self-absorption, and general asshattery.

  18. sushispook says:

    (Also, it should be said that it’s really awful you had to deal with that – thank you for sharing it!)

  19. Dan says:

    I cannot be on his side because telling someone to kill themselves is unconscionable. But “thinspiration” is in no way exclusive to the ED community. It’s unbelievably rude to tell someone that their proud weight loss picture is somehow fueling EDs – if someone with an ED is triggered by that photo, the hashtag is not going to make the difference. Your friend is a nasty jerk; and, sadly, will learn nothing from this experience because his going so far over the line gives her a high horse to climb aboard.

  20. Nina says:

    http://adiposeactivist.wordpress.com/2014/06/19/man-vs-food-vs-social-media/

    This is absolutely disgusting. This mans entitled, violent, mysoginistic behavior is shocking.

  21. Sabrina Good says:

    I wrote a message. Thank you.

  22. acromantulas says:

    I hope this blows up. No matter what you or your friend said, he was way out of line.

  23. Craftynail says:

    I used to love man vs food and thought he was a cutie. I don’t even know what to think anymore. My mind is blown at his inappropriateness!

  24. Disgusting. I have complained to his employer.

  25. Sarah Ferreira says:

    Submitted a complaint to the Travel Channel. This can not be ignored.

  26. Andrew says:

    You realize calling someone a cunt is a cultural thing, right? I assume from your writing that you’re American, and as a fellow American I know that lot of us are more sensitive and more offended by certain language. In England however, where Adam is from, calling someone a cunt is extremely common (basically the equivalent of calling someone an asshole) so it’s clear he’s not being misogynistic. People throw around derogatory terms in England like it’s nothing. While that’s not professional, I think there may have been an overreaction to his language. However, telling someone to kill themselves? Completely immature and inexcusable.

  27. megan says:

    Wow this is crazy! I know it didn’t happen to me but I am gonna write a message.

  28. Auntie N says:

    He’s disgusting. Notice the way he drops “Saville Row suit”. Guess we’re all supposed to fall at his feet in privileged awe. *gag*
    His twitter page had him saying that he didn’t respond well to “internet hate”. What? He’s the one that got upset and started throwing the real hate.
    Why are ppl kissing his ass? Do they actually think he’d deign to talk to them or that he’s their friend? Guess again!
    The REAL Adam came out in those tweets! He’s a jerk. I’m done with him and will never watch another show he’s in….

    • SweetBee says:

      His twitter rants are nothing new. I used to follow him a while back, and he’d pull things like this-I get you’re going to get hecklers having a TV show, and he’d lash out to people who would tell him the show sucked. But he’d also go off on people who *liked* him-like some who were at an event he was at, and expressed disappointment he wouldn’t pose for pictures or whatever-they weren’t bashing him, just sad they didn’t get to meet him- and he’d just go full a-hole on them. And then do the whole tweets to his followers about “trolls” and how badly he was being treated and yada yada, then do the ” I should have a cooler head, I’m the bigger man here, I will ignore these people bashing me” type speech…and it’d start all over again in like a week. He seems to think anyone expressing any kind of disappointment or any kind of criticism that isn’t even mean, just truthful, are “trolls” bashing him and provoking him to be mean. He’s got this air of a 13 year old boy who found a insult comic’s guidebook to respond to anyone that doesn’t kiss the ground he walks on for being a TV show host. I’m happy he met a personal goal, but all someone did was point how terrible that hashtag can be, and he’s suddenly throwing slurs and encouraging suicide to someone? Over a hashtag? The guy needs to stay off of social media if he can’t handle things in a respectful way.

  29. Lette says:

    Fuck Adam Richman, but at least this whole incident led me to find your blog, which I am now LOVING! :)

  30. nofatlogic says:

    Why do you care if someone else loses weight? You do realize its a struggle to accomplish it. But I guess someone with secret jealousy and deep-seeded insecurity issues would care and hate it. Clearly, it bothers you because you don’t want other people to be thin, you don’t want to feel shame or embarrassment for what you have done to yourself. Being DEATHLY, MORBIDLY OBESE, is not attractive, healthy, or socially acceptable. There is no HAES when your 5 feet whatever and nearly 300lbs. Use the brain that God gave you, stop with the self-denial. Get help for yourself before you die from a fucken coronary.

    • Adipose Activist says:

      i don’t generally publish troll comments but in this case, I can’t help myself because you made it SO clear that you didn’t actually read the blog at all. Weight loss isn’t the problem. His body isn’t the problem. Being thin isn’t the problem. Calling people cunts and telling them to kill themselves? Yeah, that’s the problem.

  31. Pingback: Man v. Food's Adam Richman calls Instagram follower a c**t, tells another to kill herself

  32. Amber says:

    I sent the following message to travel channel-
    Recently I saw an exchange in which Adam from Man vs Food told several people, from his personal instagram, to kill themselves and called them gender slurs. Even though this occurred on a social network outside of the travel channel, I still think his behavior reflects very poorly on the travel channel itself due to the fact that he thinks this behavior is acceptable! If I was in the public eye and had told people to commit suicide, I would expect extreme repercussions- perhaps even losing my job. It’s clear that Adam did not think of these repercussions when he made his choices. I think his behavior and language was reprehensible and should not go unnoticed.

    Disgusting situation that I hope brings reparations.

  33. Malea webb says:

    You preach to be about body acceptance and yet you shame him for weightloss? Why not be happy for someone who is proud of their new body.

    • Adipose Activist says:

      Can you please point out exactly where it is that I shamed him for weight loss? Thanks.

  34. Rocky's Mama says:

    I don’t think he needs to worry about Travel Channel. Walmart will be the big one. I am sure that there is a behavioral cause in his contract.

  35. Hank Wanky says:

    I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I’m going to comment anyway because it’s the internet. I like Man vs. Food. It’s good mindless entertainment. Richman, IMO, is a guy who wanted to be an actor, but he’s not that attractive and may not have the talent. Idk. But he came up with the food angle and got Man vs. Food, so good for him. If I recall, this isn’t the first time he’s had trouble on social media. He’s too sensitive and takes things too personally. These women were expressing their opinions about his hash tag, and he shouldn’t have gone off the handle. If you don’t want people saying things you disagree with, don’t be on social media. You especially don’t tell people to kill themselves and eat a bag of shit when you have a new show about to start. I’m sure the Travel Channel people love that. Also, his weight loss just makes his ears look bigger.

  36. Jaime C says:

    I’m curious why the “polite” response telling him the problem with using the Thinspiration hashtag is irresponsible isn’t posted. His posts after aren’t acceptable at all but you’ve only shown us his posts. I wonder if there weren’t attacking responses left on his page that made him lash out so angrily. If the story proves to be as you describe it then it’s shameful. Until I can examine the whole picture I’ll hold my judgement and higher expectations of him as a celebrity. He isn’t any more special than you or I and I expect responsible behavior from all sides, not just that of the public figure.

    • Adipose Activist says:

      Valid question that I will only answer once.

      Adam blocked me on instagram. While creating this blog post, I could still access his instagram via my laptop, as long as I was logged out. I could not, however, access the comments. It gave me the most recent comments without giving me an option to ‘show older’ or scroll up. By that point, my comment had been buried under three hundred or so of other comments. I did not expect this post to go as viral as it has, and once it started gaining momentum I would have asked someone to scroll through the comments, find mine, and screenshot it so I could add it to this post, but by that point Adam deleted that particular picture and all the comments that went with it. I am a fan of having the whole story and it frustrates me that there are pieces missing in this article. People assume that means that my comment to him was inflammatory, but I can assure you it wasn’t. Whether people want to believe that is their own prerogative, but unfortunately at this point there’s nothing I can do about it.

  37. Sarah says:

    As someone in the healthcare industry, being your apparent weight is not healthy at all. There’s a reason obesity is in the International Codified Diseases dictionary. Having said that, no one should shame you for it, and no one should tell you to kill yourself.

    However, berating a person for not meticulously researching a hashtag that might offend some part of the population is absurd. He messed up by reacting so badly, you messed up by starting this in the first place.

    • Adipose Activist says:

      Hmm. Interesting, Sarah. Your comment says ‘no one should tell you to kill yourself.’ Let me show you the screen grab of exactly how that email came to me.

      Now look at the comment I got ten minutes previous to yours.

      Notice anything similar about the ip addresses? Like how they’re exactly the same? Try harder.

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