In the Kyle & Jackie O show on 25/7/12 weight shaming is rampant throughout the entire show, but particularly in an interview with Ricki-Lee Coulter and in a ‘weight intervention’ staged by Austereo Employees. In the show, Jackie O is weighed, her weight indicated at 66kg. A photograph is taken of her in a bikini and she is told that if she does not lose 6kg in 6 weeks, the photograph will be distributed on the internet. Throughout the show, comments indicating that Jackie’s weight is too high were made regularly.
At Jackie’s current weight, she would be required to be under 158cm tall to even reach mildly overweight. According to internet searches, Jackie’s height is approx 170cm tall, which gives her a current BMI of 23 - right in the middle of the healthy weight range. If Jackie were to lose 6kg, her BMI would be 21. 12 months previously, Jackie reported to weigh in at 64.5kg - a BMI of 22. At none of these weights is Jackie overweight.
According to one of the interventionists; “The listeners have heard us do three interventions on your weight, nothing is helping. ‘I felt really badly doing this, but then I thought, no she needs me to’.” To remain in the healthy weight range, Jackie does not need to lose weight. To have such an extreme example of body shaming aired on Australian radio is shameful.
At no stage did the show indicate that she would be undergoing medical assessment whilst venturing on her highly publicised weight loss, in fact extreme measures - such as excluding carbohydrates entirely - were encouraged; “You can come to the gym with us and we’ll do no carbs together”. In fact; later in the show, Kyle is quoted as advising how one loses weight; “you stop eating girls, that’s what you do”. A position statement which rests in a dangerous place.
Not only is weight shaming unproven to be effective to encourage people to lose weight, it is highly offensive. Australia is in the midst of an eating disorder crisis; it’s estimated 1 in 20 individuals will experience an eating disorder at some time in their lives. Of these, 1 in 5 patients will not live beyond a 10 year follow up.
Austereo, having a strong media presence in Australia, has a duty to protect Australians by not encouraging them to engage in dangerous weight loss behaviours or weight cycling. If Austereo is encouraging a woman who is in the healthy weight range to lose weight, what message is this sending to the Australian public? With a broad media profile comes equally broad responsibility.
We request that Austereo release an apology for the weight shaming aired on 25/7/12 and make a commitment to not instigate or promote body shaming on Australian radio and instead, adopt the responsible position of encouraging health and wellbeing, with weight only being discussed by registered medical practitioners, when relevant on all sources of Austereo media.
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