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Alton Brown: "Be Ashamed" of Your Fat Body

We've talked about Alton Brown before. The bespectacled host of Food Network's Good Eats has had his ups and downs with his own weight and feelings on fat people. On that BFB post, he spoke incredibly ill of his own body. And if you saw one of his previous Feasting on... specials you may recall his OMG I NEED TO DO SITUPS NOW BECAUSE OF ALL THIS HIGH-CAL HIGH-FAT FOOD routine which became truly old, sad, and upsetting.

Unfortunately, Brown has come out of the fat-hating closet for good in a recent interview that got picked up at Ecorazzi. His words:

”I've struggled with weight all my life, and probably always will. But I was on my most recent book tour I was shocked by the number of overweight families,” he says. “People would come up to me and say, ‘Oh, we love the Food Network.’ Well, no (expletive); did you eat the TV? There’s only four of you and you can’t ride in an elevator together. I’ll probably make fat people angry, but we need, as a culture, to be ashamed. It’s not “… healthy.”

Angry? Check.

I'm angry because it's another case of a food celebrity (Jamie Oliver) trying to shame all of the fat people away. And on top of it, it really seems to be a situation where Brown has had negative body images ("all [his] life" mind you) and when he sees fat people, he's reminded of what he could be... maybe, if his set point is higher than its current spot... and he's afraid of that. So I really do think this comes from a place of fear and ignorance ultimately.

Brown unfortunately makes the foolish mistake of wrapping fat people up with the issue of sustainability, because clearly fat people don't eat local foods ever, don't cook for themselves (HELLO YOU ARE ON A COOKING SHOW, TELLING PEOPLE HOW TO COOK) and eat crap all the time. And man, it's another instance - another! - of someone using fat people as scapegoats for everything that she/he sees as wrong with the world. Does Brown honestly, truly think that if everyone was thin, everything would be better? That McDonald's would go away? That our food and eating patterns would change? If he does, boy, that speaks volumes.

In the end, though, anyone who decides to consciously say, "You know what? Screw you - you all should be ashamed of yourselves and your bodies" is someone who doesn't deserve any more of my time, attention, nor money. Alton, you're damn right I'm angry. I'm ashamed of you and your childish, ignorant attitude. [Thanks, Dreama.]

Boing Boing's Continuing Fat Hatred... ugh. | Hard Drive Dead - Back Soon! Really!

paul September 11th, 2008 | Link | As an add on, I think he

As an add on, I think he does have some valid points about sustainability and the American lifestyle, but wrapping it up in the old, tired, cliched obesity epidemic is just... too... much.

Moody Blue's picture
Moody Blue
September 11th, 2008 | Link | Book tour, eh? I'm sure he

Book tour, eh? I'm sure he smiled, autographed their books and gladly took their money. Hypocrite!!! I'll just keep watching Paula Dean and the Barefoot Contessa. Eye-wink

JennyLinsky September 11th, 2008 | Link | Alton, what the hell is the

Alton, what the hell is the matter with you???

I love your show Good Eats. You're funny, smart, and geeky. What the hell is up with your body issues? Go see a shrink. Please.

Morrighan's picture
Morrighan
September 11th, 2008 | Link | "What the hell?" Seconded.

"What the hell?" Seconded. Motion carries.

I am right there with him on sustainability. Oh but wait. I'm fat. I must just imagine I know what it's like to work, -hard-, in a garden and then work hard some more putting the veggies away for over the winter. Or that I've gone to pick up the vacuum sealed packs of various pieces of half a cow that we split the price for with another family. Bought locally and humanely butchered locally. [/sarcasm]

Just another case where they -say- "fat" when what they really mean is "lower class."

He's a jackass either way.

JennyLinsky September 12th, 2008 | Link | Even in the non-fatosphere

Even in the non-fatosphere context, Alton is being weird! He's actually a rather skinny guy, so why is he saying he's fat???

I think I just found the first male chef with body dysmorphia.

selkie September 11th, 2008 | Link | Is there any way to find out

Is there any way to find out who the major sponsors of Good Eats and Iron Chef are? I'm not often moved to write letters to networks and sponsors, but I'd really like to let them know why they've lost a viewer, and exactly how angry I am.

Damn it, I learned to cook from that man.

Viola's picture
Viola
September 11th, 2008 | Link | I find reading that so

I find reading that so incredibly frustrating that words fail me. Does he understand what sustainability really means? Most likely he consumes more resources than the 90% of the world's population, and publishing and marketing these books which he then has to travel to promote is not sustainable by any stretch of the word. His bit about the obese family eating the TV and not fitting on the elevator doesn't even fit in with the rest about sustainability. I don't get why he had to throw that in there, other than he hates fat people and wants to get his shots in where he can. It was an asinine interview.

GirlyGirl's picture
GirlyGirl
September 11th, 2008 | Link | sigh.

Dang it and I really like him on TV! Good Eats is such a good show Sad

I can't ruin anyone's life with my fatness but I sure could make someone miserable if I was greedy or manipulative... or if I was a famous TV star who just told a substantial portion of his fans that they're evil and should be ashamed, and he doesn't care if that angers them because obviously, their opinions don't matter because they're fat and teh gross.

Melena September 11th, 2008 | Link | Just freaking wonderful. I

Just freaking wonderful. I was such a fan of Alton's. I have all his books.

Nice to know exactly what he thinks of people like me. I would be horrified to meet him now...my bf and I are both fat, he probably would think that we'd eat him. Jerk.

I chalked up his former slightly snarky comments about fat to being scared about his own weight because he had heart trouble and probably felt powerless, so he gains some semblance of control by blaming fat....but this is just unbelievably offensive. The fact that he doesn't care if he "makes fat people angry" is just the final slap in the face. He's lost a viewer (and I've been watching him for years....YEARS. Maybe a decade, I don't know how long the show has been on) and I'm never giving him one red cent again.

Kunoichi September 12th, 2008 | Link | Dang it! We don't have tv at

Dang it!

We don't have tv at home. Every now and then, though, I'll head up to the public lounge and watch The Food Network while I crochet (the only way I can get uninterrupted time to work on my projects). I get a couple of hours of tv watching (and a lot of progress on my crochet) before the lounge is closed for the night. Iron Chef America is always that last show I watch before I have to leave.

I had to do a google search to figure out who Alton Brown was. I've just never been able to catch his name - it goes by too fast. Iron Chef America is the one show I really enjoy watching (I've never seen Good East - we're never around when it's on, I guess), and wouldn't you know it, you're talking about one of my favorite people on the show. Him and Mario Batali. Now I find out this?

*sigh*

wriggle99 September 12th, 2008 | Link | TV foodie threat

The fun-loving host is worried that food shows popularity have contributed to the obesity problem in America

I think this sums up exactly what causes food peddling yutzes such as Jaay-me Oliver to get their knickers up in a twist. They are terrified of being accused of aiding and abetting fatties to make fast and loose with a major share of the grub. Then the food police will be on to them and arrest them and throw them in jail with only bread and water( and I don't mean ciabatta and spring water, I'm talking some old arsed tap water, not chilled and no ice with bread well over a day old, absolute hell darling).

Bree's picture
Bree
September 12th, 2008 | Link | I'm fat, and I don't watch

I'm fat, and I don't watch cooking shows, because I think they are boring, and most of them are too highbrow for me. I did like Julia Child and Justin Wilson though, because they were more entertaining and didn't seem to have the hangups over food some of today's chefs do. And they actually made dishes I would eat.

I have a simple piece of advice for Alton, Jamie, and any other chef who thinks fat people do nothing but eat, eat, eat: STOP BEING A CHEF AND GO DO SOMETHING ELSE. Unless your niche is specifically cooking using lower fat and lower calorie ingredients, you do not have the right to make rich, high calorie food and then insult fat people because you don't think they should eat any of it. Also, considering that some of these shows keep people from going to McDonald's (which according to haters is where all fat people hang out all day every day), you would think they would be glad.

Stupid, ignorant assclowns.

richie79's picture
richie79
September 12th, 2008 | Link | I had no idea who Alton

I had no idea who Alton Brown was until this post, and like Bree I'm no fan of cooking shows (as I've no real desire to impress at dinner parties with artistically-drizzled asparagus, my repertoire consists of good solid dishes that are easy to make and reward the time spent in the kitchen with a pleasantly full sensation in the belly) but on the subject of celebrity chefs being some of the most outspoken critics of fat people I would have to agree with wriggle99 that this is all about trying to pre-emptively absolve themselves of any 'blame' for the alleged obesity timebomb. After all, look at the wall of vilification that faces those such as Nigella Lawson who refuse to attack fat people and continue to promote high-calorie and supposedly fattening dishes. By saying 'this food is only for thin people and those with the moral fibre to exercise it off' they're effectively putting a disclaimer on any subsequent shows, books etc with which they could otherwise be accused of promoting 'unhealthy' behaviour.

Of course if we are all fat from gorging on the products of celebrity chefs' recipes (and FWIW, very few people I know who are fans of cooking shows actually make anything they see on the programmes, which they generally view as pure entertainment) making snooty comments about us shameful fatties could arguably be seen as very poor business judgment. But then, there is an equally valid school of thought which suggests that such comments only reinforce the low opinion most fat people hold of themselves, and that far from angrily rejecting those who make them, the targets of such comments will generally agree, sympathise, and usually then go and atone by swelling the coffers of the diet industry.

It is disappointing when someone you previously respected makes a fat-phobic comment (I remember feeling the same when Alan Titchmarsh, someone I once admired for his Yorkshire earthiness and apparent common-sense, recently regurgitated the 'eat less, move more' myth on a BBC obesity debate). I wish that I could be surprised at this kind of outburst, but unfortunately with fat people now having become firmly established as the preferred whipping boy du jour for any public figure seeking to appear slightly controversial and occupy the moral high ground I think that we'll see more jumping on this particular bandwagon, creating a self-perpetuating situation whereby others feel emboldened to make similarly lazy and stereotypical assertions. It all serves to remind me why, with fat hatred continuing to spill unchallenged into almost every area of life and entertainment, I consume very little by way of media nowadays.

"if you think fat people have no self-discipline, consider the fact that they haven’t killed you yet." - Miss Conduct, Boston Globe

Beanietude's picture
Beanietude
September 12th, 2008 | Link | I am ashamed. I'm ashamed I

I am ashamed. I'm ashamed I don't own any Alton Brown books that I can write a stinky letter in and post back to the publisher. And I second Bree's sentiment. Don't cook if you don't want people to eat it. How utterly ridiculous.

Marshfield September 12th, 2008 | Link | I dare him to run that "be

I dare him to run that "be ashamed" line by Mario Batali. Punk.

moxie3's picture
moxie3
September 12th, 2008 | Link | I couldn't give a hoot about

I couldn't give a hoot about Alton Brown, never been one of my faves and I am one that watches the Food Network show and other channels that offer cooking programs that interest me. His personality is similar to that Bourdain's where they seem more interested in listening to themselves talk! I'll stick with my Paula Deen and my Barefoot Contessa. My sister-n-law stayed in line in Philly to get me a cookbook signed by Paula and she said she was very nice! moxie3

rachelr's picture
rachelr
September 12th, 2008 | Link | I wonder if Alton ever stops

I wonder if Alton ever stops to think that he's part of the very culture of waste he condemns. After all, his cookbooks and cooking shows are luxuries, not necessities, and probably take a lot of natural resources to produce. But I bet he has no problem when people buy, buy, buy his commercial products and those he endorses. It's only unsustainable if it doesn't make you money.

maggie September 13th, 2008 | Link | ugh.

i'm not going to read the interview because it will hurt.

i LOVE alton brown. Good Eats has been one of my very favorite television shows for years. the little self-effacing jabs have always bothered me, but i figured it was a case of "i'm making the fat joke first so you don't have to."

but this? this HURTS, alton.

i can only hope it hurts you more when you alienate the majority of your viewers and fans.

~Maggie~

ps - alton, jesus thinks it's mean to hate on people because of their physical characteristics.

pps - for those of you who don't know, alton is a born again christian. at first this freaked me out, as i have yet to meet a born again who keeps their religion to themselves. but he keeps it out of his show, and that is one thing i really respected about him. and i'm not entirely up to date on the exact teachings of born again christianity, but i'm pretty sure that being a hater isn't supposed to be part of it.

pamalamb's picture
pamalamb
September 13th, 2008 | Link | If Alton Brown is indeed a

If Alton Brown is indeed a Christian he is forgetting some of the basic tenets such as "Man is made in the image of God..." which is in the Statement of Faith of the church he attends (Johnson Ferry Baptist Church) and a basic Bible teaching. I don't watch this guy or really know much about him but as a fellow Christian it breaks my heart to hear such hatred and disgust directed towards another human being (made in the image of God!)...and obviously towards himself too! I REFUSE to be ashamed Alton!

Felt_Tip_Pen's picture
Felt_Tip_Pen
September 12th, 2008 | Link | No!

I'm right there with Maggie. In fact one of my emails (used to be, as it stands right now) Abismyhero. My husband always called him my boyfriend.

Not anymore, I guess.

Dan Bassett September 13th, 2008 | Link | Im glad your brought up

Im glad your brought up jamie oliver. I blogged about it. I think he is very patronising and am sick of celebrity 'chefs' thinking they know what is healthy and what is not. You are a chef not an expert on health.
Dan

vesta44's picture
vesta44
September 13th, 2008 | Link | This is why I don't watch

This is why I don't watch cooking shows of any kind anymore, and haven't ever since Julia Child's show and Graham Kerr's Galloping Gourmet ended (and if I recall, even Graham Kerr there at the end of Galloping Gourmet was getting into the "health" thing). Eventually, fat-phobia in all it's blackened glory is going to out, and I'm not going to deal with it, nor be disappointed that a chef I really liked turns out to be a hater of fat people.

WLS - Sorry, not my preferred way of dying. *glares at doctor recommending it*

FatKimmie September 13th, 2008 | Link | Don't like cooking shows and

Don't like cooking shows and never have - don't like cooking so that sorta goes hand in hand... just seems a ridiculous waste of time and effort in the end... not to mention the hordes of dishes then needing washed -- blech!

On the born again thing -- maggie, you said "...as i have yet to meet a born again who keeps their religion to themselves." Um, maggie, that's part of being "born again" -- you are called to evangelize (meaning share the good news of the Gospel) and bring others to salvation through Jesus Christ -- you pretty much shouldn't be keeping it to yourself if you are born again... on the hater thing, yup, you got it - no hating allowed Eye-wink

sarahj September 13th, 2008 | Link | Born-again Christians might

Born-again Christians might call it "evangelizing," but the rest of us consider it annoying. People have the right to make their own choices, thank you very much.

paul September 14th, 2008 | Link | Agreed on the "right to make

Agreed on the "right to make [our] own choices" component. The religious angle of this is interesting, but let's not let it overpower everything else. Thanks.

FatShepherdess's picture
FatShepherdess
September 13th, 2008 | Link | I can't watch cooking shows

I can't watch cooking shows - I always end up starving and then when I pick through my own cabinets and fridge nothing looks as good as what was on the show!!

I don't know this guy but I know of Jamie Oliver. He drives me NUTS with his fat-hatred!

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them." ~Mother Teresa

pjrichardson's picture
pjrichardson
September 13th, 2008 | Link | Dear Alton: I like your

Dear Alton:

I like your show. I'm not a devoted fan, but if it's on and I've got a few minutes, I'll spend them with you. Now this. Thing is, you didn't need to tell me to be ashamed. I am ashamed - deeply ashamed. Have been for a long time. Because of the shame, I go out less and less these days, and when I do go out, it is with such fear and loathing in my heart that a gray gauze is draped over the world. A world thus adorned is ugly and repulsive (like me). And please don't worry about the resources I hog. I live in a tiny house I am destined never to leave (I do what work I can from home as my capacity to deal with the outside world is diminishing), and I barely have enough money to cover my expenses as is, so my "carbon footprint" for an entire year is probably smaller than the footprint for one of your shows. And finally, lest I use up the medical care so deserved by good and decent thin people (and fed up with the overt prejudice from health care providers and the resulting spike in shame), I pretty much avoid doctors. So, as you can see, I keep my life simple, hogging neither resources nor medical care, and I have been properly ashamed for going on 40 years.

Weird thing is, I'm still fat.

Anyway, thank you for adding darker shade of gray to my view of the world and my place in it. It just wasn't dark or warped enough.

fatfairy September 14th, 2008 | Link | pjrichardson, Food Network

pjrichardson, Food Network has a comments and questions feature on their website. Your post says something that Alton Brown needs to hear, and says it eloquently. I made a comment earlier today to Food Network saying maybe I should throw away the book he wrote which I bought for my niece, since he wouldn't want a fat kid reading it, and since my niece is the granddaughter of a Holocaust Survivor she knows plenty about people being hated for being different or imperfect without Mr. Brown reminding her.
Also, what you said being ashamed, and your world needing to be made darker, makes sense to me. I have spent 40+ years hating myself and thinking my very existence is a mistake, and no matter how much I suffer because I am one of God's mistakes, it has not been and never will be enough.

richie79's picture
richie79
September 14th, 2008 | Link | Seconded, FatFairy. These

Seconded, FatFairy. These 'celebs' need to see the catastrophic damage their throwaway, publicity-seeking dogma is doing to real people, and pjrichardson's comment starkly illustrates that. No-one, least of all an overpaid, overrated TV CHEF (and what is it about TV cooking shows and fatphobia? Prime scumbag Anton du Beke is now presenting one too) has any right whatsoever to make someone feel that they have no right to exist and that the world would be a better place without them - especially based solely on something as ultimately inconsequential the way they look. (And as I think you both know deep down, the world would actually be all the poorer, and very much darker, without fat people in it, not least those of us who comment on this site).

Time to give as good as we've been getting; to make THEM feel ashamed and question THEIR actions for a change. That's what fat activism should be all about.

"if you think fat people have no self-discipline, consider the fact that they haven’t killed you yet." - Miss Conduct, Boston Globe

pamalamb's picture
pamalamb
September 14th, 2008 | Link | pjrichardson and fatfairy -

pjrichardson and fatfairy - I am deeply disturbed and moved by your comments and experiences and certainly have felt that way in the past. Yes, you need to let the Alton Browns out there know how this effects you.
fatfairy - where is that comments section - I cannot find it.

sannanina September 14th, 2008 | Link | I think this sums up exactly

I think this sums up exactly what causes food peddling yutzes such as Jaay-me Oliver to get their knickers up in a twist. They are terrified of being accused of aiding and abetting fatties to make fast and loose with a major share of the grub. Then the food police will be on to them and arrest them and throw them in jail with only bread and water( and I don't mean ciabatta and spring water, I'm talking some old arsed tap water, not chilled and no ice with bread well over a day old, absolute hell darling).

The sad thing is: I would bet that food has effects on health other than just how good the nutrients in it are. Living in the US and more recently living in the Netherlands there has always been one thing that I truly, truly missed although I generally have enjoyed (and still enjoy) living in both countries: really dark, heavy bread. Good bread is one of the foods that make me emotionally but also physically feel good. It also helps me feel truly satisfied - something that a lot of other foods don't do, even though they might be nutionionally comparable. I have seen something similar in a very good Chinese friend of mine: After living in Western countries for many years now one of the things she still misses very much is really good Chinese food. She literally gets digestive problems when she eats salad or raw vegetables while warm soup and some foods that don't sound very appetizing to me help her deal with all kinds of physical and emotional stressors. So in a way chefs are contributing to people's health by making satisfying and tasty food. That's what they should focus on. Of course that food should also have high nutrional quality. But honestly, that's not all.

And slightly off-topic, but... this is the most recent comment on the Ecorazzi post that Paul linked to:

Obesity is a terrible problem, and the attitudes of many of the obese are getting worse. Some of the obese actually want to eat all the time and refuse to listen when they get advice on how to reduce themselves. One would think they would want to, but some of the obese are real pigalots.

I guess I should stop reading comments. But the sad thing about this one is... the author is not a troll in the sense of someone who is just trying to push people's buttons. He sounds like he genuinely believes in this bullshit... and he probably has never considered that even fat people who want to lose weight might not listen to his advice to "reduce themselves" because they have heard it before, tried it, and it didn't work. And of course there is this incredibly insulting use of "the obese". Labeling people with a noun that describes a disease, no matter if it is a real disease such as depression or a made-up disease such as obesity is extremely rude; labeling fat people as "the obese" is even worse than labeling them as "obese people" or "people with obesity". And this is not just a matter of politcal correctness. There is actual evidence that if you think of "an athlete" you consider the person in question less likely to have any attributes that are not typical for athletes, such as being artistic, than if you think of "an athletic person". It's very well possible that the same is true of thinking of "the obese" and "people with obesity".

fatfairy September 14th, 2008 | Link | Pamalamb, I just went back

Pamalamb, I just went back to Food Network's site and I can't find it now either.
There seems to be an increasing popular belief that "anyone who I find ugly/disgusting/annoying/not my notion of perfect should not be alive on this planet because I don't want them here offending me by existing". I think that every person alive on this Earth has the same right to be here, whether anyone else likes them or not. There's also a popular belief that "other people owe it to me to live up to my expectations of what they should be like". Again, I disagree. I would say people "owe'" it to their community only to hold to some basic standard of good citizenship, and to do or give more only if and when they see fit.

FatKimmie September 14th, 2008 | Link | fatfairy said "Also, what

fatfairy said "Also, what you said being ashamed, and your world needing to be made darker, makes sense to me. I have spent 40+ years hating myself and thinking my very existence is a mistake, and no matter how much I suffer because I am one of God's mistakes, it has not been and never will be enough."

Perhaps you should change your mindset here? God doesn't make mistakes - we are all created for a unique purpose in His plan. I refuse to believe that you, or myself, or anyone else is a mistake-- we are all puzzle pieces -- some are slanted, some are edges, some are middles, some skinny, some fat.... all painted with different colors that make us beautiful when we are pieced together properly.

strawberry September 14th, 2008 | Link | I just posted a comment to

I just posted a comment to Ecorazzi, after scrolling to the bottom of the page. I used the pseudonym "Robin Joseph". I haven't watched his show, (I ate my television about twenty years ago, and every time we have an electrical storm, my stomach lights up) but after reading some of the heartbreaking comments posted here, I felt I had to stick my nose in. Wow, what an ugly self-righteous bunch of commenters on Ecorazzi..

secondhelpinglaura's picture
secondhelpinglaura
September 14th, 2008 | Link | I'm going to turn the other

I'm going to turn the other cheek on this one. I really love this guy, and he practices that healthy philosophy, "all things in moderation." I've always appreciated that about him, how he makes ice cream with real cream because otherwise it's "not worth the effort."

Yeah, he's self-hating, but who hasn't been at one point or another?

strawberry September 14th, 2008 | Link | It's not the self-hate that

It's not the self-hate that bothers me; it's the hateful attitude toward what must be a good portion of his audience. Let him do self-hatred on his own time and not bother the rest of us with it. Does he not even have the self-control to keep his ignorant mouth shut?

Dirty-Blonde Amazon September 14th, 2008 | Link | Man... and I love Alton

Man... and I love Alton Brown. The 'Good Eats' shows have always been great for teaching history and interesting facts about foods and their origins. Who would've believed this?

But you know the sad irony of all of this? The Food Network HAS been pushing a ton of 'healthy' foods.... low carb, low-cal, dairy-free, fat-free, soy, tofo, blah blah blah.. Poor Nigella's been pushed to ungodly hours, and even Paula Deen's been getting into healthier stuff...

Yet EVERY SHOW now has a "COCKTAIL TIME!" Apparently it's better to be a drunken sot instead of overweight. If I remember correctly, alcohol gets converted into pure sugar in the body... How is this acceptable?

It's getting more and more to the point where I Really don't miss watching a lot of TV. I barely watched it in college, and I'm thinking it's the way to go still...

*But I still watch Nigella, even if she's on at 8:30am on Saturday*

Darkazaeda's picture
Darkazaeda
September 14th, 2008 | Link | Alton Brown is Spokesperson for the Alaska Sea Food Marketing In

Alton Brown is spokesperson for the Alaska Sea Food Marketing Institute.

My husband sent them the following letter. He invites any of you to use any part of it you like if wish to write them also.

Hello,

At the behest of my wife (who loves fish) I have been adding more seafood to my diet. Recently at our local Trader Joe's and Costco, I have been seeing a lot of wild-caught Alaskan salmon. I have been considering adding this to my diet, along with other Alaskan seafood.

Today, however, an interview with Alton Brown was brought to my attention. (http://www.contracostatimes.com/search/ci_10419733?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com
I have a number of friends who, for one reason or another, are fat. The person who brought this interview to my attention was, until they read the interview, a fan of Mr. Brown. Their opinion changed after reading this interview, and I have lost some respect for him as well. Especially this quote:

"...But I was on my most recent book tour I was shocked by the number of overweight families," he says. "People would come up to me and say, 'Oh, we love the Food Network.' Well, no (expletive); did you eat the TV? There's only four of you and you can't ride in an elevator together. I'll probably make fat people angry, but we need, as a culture, to be ashamed. It's not "... healthy."

Take out the word "overweight" and insert "African-American" or "Catholic" or "Gay" or maybe "Republican" and he would have been immediately censured.

As a result of this interview, and because Mr. Brown is your spokesperson, I am NOT going to be adding any Alaskan seafood to my diet at this time.

Thank you for reading this,

(husband's name removed)

What a guy, huh? Smiling

jmars September 15th, 2008 | Link | Contact Info:

In case anyone's looking for this info:

Food Network
75 Ninth Avenue
New York, NY 10001

President: Brooke Johnson

Food Network is owned by Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc., a publicly-traded company headquartered in Ohio.

Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc.
312 Walnut Street
2800 Scripps Center
Cincinnati, OH 45202

President, Chairman and CEO: Kenneth W. Lowe

Another interesting tidbit -- Scripps' "Core Values" from the Food Network website:

"Now in its 10th year of operation, Scripps Networks daily attempts to honor its core values, the foundation of the company:

- Diversity
- Compassion/Support
- Openness
- Clarity in Communication
- Shared Responsibility
- Humor
- Integrity
- Work/Life Balances

Seems to me that Brown's comments violate the first two of those ...

Euterpist's picture
Euterpist
September 15th, 2008 | Link | Be ashamed, be very ashamed

We all know how well shame works in getting people skinny...

Meowzer September 15th, 2008 | Link | Much as Kelly Brownell

Much as Kelly Brownell annoys me, his study about how fat people tend to respond to public shame by eating more is something Brown needs to see.

P.J. Richardson, your letter is AWESOME and I hope Brown sees it.

And anyone who does own his books, please mail them back to his publisher. Not to him. To his publisher. And tell them why. (A little sarcasm might get the point across better, like, "Mr. Brown has truly shown me the error of my ways and now I know I am truly unworthy of his wonderful books. I promise I will never purchase another.") They'll get the message.

biggoth September 15th, 2008 | Link | Nonsense! Don't mail his

Nonsense! Don't mail his books back -- EAT them! (Or at least tell him you did. Right after polishing off the television. Mmmmmm, crunchy!).

I'm very disappointed in Alton. He was the Food Network celebrity I most wanted to meet, but not now -- I'm afraid of the harsh judgement he'd pass on me and my family. (You mean fat PARENTS have fat CHILDREN? Whuddathunkit?!?!).

hotchka September 16th, 2008 | Link | I'm really disapointed in

I'm really disapointed in Alton too. He seems like a really smart guy and for him to say something so profoundly ignorant (as well as unfair and unkind), is shocking to me. I'm tempted to send him my copy of Rethinking Thin by Gina Kolata, if I thought there was a chance he'd actually read it.

Love the idea about telling Alton we ate his books biggoth! Laughing out loud

JennyLinsky September 17th, 2008 | Link | FatFairy: *hugshugshugshugshu

FatFairy:

*hugshugshugshugshugs*

Alton should be ashamed of himself, not you. I think he may be projecting his own self-hatred onto his body and those of his fans.

PJ Richardson:

Are you having more trouble moving around physically, or is your depression getting worse? Your comments about having less capacity to deal with the outside world really worries me.

Both of you:

I don't know where you live, but there are mental health crisis centers you can call. I hope you both talk to someone.

You are both wonderful people.

fatfairy September 19th, 2008 | Link | I just arranged to send the

I just arranged to send the Feasting On Asphalt book i got for my niece back to Amazon, and told them why. I'm sure Alton wouldn't want a fat, disgusting child like her reading it anyway.
FattKimmie and JennyLinsky, thank you.

keshmeshi September 20th, 2008 | Link | Someone please correct me if

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but Jamie Oliver at least seems to have positive motivations. I've also yet to hear of him saying anything about fat people that's as derogative as what Brown says here. Additionally, the British diet, whether Brits are fat or not, is appalling. They eat fewer vegetables than Americans do. And that stat would probably be even worse if they didn't eat chips with virtually everything, even curry.

richie79's picture
richie79
September 20th, 2008 | Link | To be honest Keshmeshi I'm

To be honest Keshmeshi I'm of the opinion that Jamie's School Dinner Crusade was motivated more by a desire to reinvigorate a flagging career (he'd been fired by the BBC a few months earlier because they considered his accepting payment from Sainsbury's to front their TV commercials to constitute a conflict of interest). He exploited what was then a relatively new concern about obesity to relaunch himself as some sort of public health guardian, and a few controversial comments about fat people and working-class parents were enough to secure the column inches he needed.

I certainly don't think the time he donned a fat suit and broke a Vespa, or his live autopsy on a dead fat guy were motivated by concern for 'the obese' as much as a hefty paycheck and a new contract for his show.

And there's no more a single, universal 'British diet' than there is an American equivalent. My grandma's generation eat a lot of veggies, though they're invariably boiled to within an inch of their lives and dished up with gravy made from the meat fat and juices, but on the other hand, most of my age group are very health conscious and I see a lot of salads and 'healthy' sandwiches being consumed at lunchtimes.

Stereotypically British foods such as pork pies, black pudding, 'full English' fried breakfasts and even fish n' chips are all declining in popularity as folk become more weight-aware; in fact many of the posters on the LJ community for transatlantic expats and those in transatlantic relationships I frequent cite Britain's more health-conscious atmosphere / greater availability of organic foods / stricter laws against additives and preservatives amongst their primary motives for wishing to relocate here.

And in my neighbourhood at least, the takeaways predominantly serve variations on foreign food - fried chicken, pizzas, curries, burgers and kebabs. Whilst the British may have embraced all of the above, they certainly didn't dream any of them up.

Out of curiosity, have you ever visited the UK?

"if you think fat people have no self-discipline, consider the fact that they haven’t killed you yet." - Miss Conduct, Boston Globe

LWalker September 22nd, 2008 | Link | ALTON BROWN = BITCH-ASS-ED-NESS!!

You know, I kinda liked Alton Brown, too, but from here on out, his ass is dismissed. I, too, would like to see him try to say that shit to the faces of Mario Batali, Guy Fieri or Emeril. I wonder what his Food Network colleagues think of him now.

He needs to grow up and stop projecting his insecurities and feelings about his own body onto fat people in general!

Sort of off topic: I have a HUGE Food Network celebrity crush on Guy Fieri, and if I weren't married and I met him in person and found out he was also single, I think I would propose. LOL

Ok, carry on... Smiling

JennyLinsky September 27th, 2008 | Link | Picture Alton Brown trying

Picture Alton Brown trying that nonsense on Paula Deen. I can see her cramming a sweet roll in his mouth in mid-sentence. He would say "Mmm!" and shut up while she fed him a home-cooked Southern dinner.

I always thought Alton Brown was kind of skinny, myself.

siamesemeg's picture
siamesemeg
September 25th, 2008 | Link | The intense response to this

The intense response to this posting and Alton Brown's interview seems to me to reveal a bigger problem than Brown's controversial opinion or obesity crisis hysteria: hero worship.

Fat folks, it is time to stop idealizing celebrities and then condemning them when they do something that does not fit the ideal you have created. Actors, actresses, tv chefs, authors, musicians, politicians and so on are going to do and say things that are inconsistent or hurtful or ignorant. This is called being human. You will hear about it because they have a public forum. This is called fame.

To denigrate and yes, hate them because they have done or said these things and then reject their good works is to do what we are demanding the world not do to fat people.

Enjoy a cooking show or a movie or sitcom for what it is. Then turn it off and be your own hero.

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