Stop abusing contestants on your show.
This petition had 581 supporters
Dear "The Biggest Loser,"
Stop encouraging disordered eating, obsessive exercising, and scale worshipping. Stop presenting health as a binary: obese vs. not obese. Losing dangerous amounts of weight does not make you a good person, worthy of love and cash prizes. However, being screamed in the face, being tortured by a scale, and dangling money in exchange for self-destructive behaviors can damage a person’s sense of self and lead them spiraling into mental illness.
Inappropriate TV has been around as long as TV has but psychological torture is a new low. Relentlessly abusing people, without any self-awareness on the behalf of the show, is not appropriate for any age or demographic. You might think you’re selling health and happiness but in fact you inspire stigma and self-disgust by presenting a bogus and deceitful idea of "health." Have you tried putting your show’s staff through the same workout and food routines as your contestants? Both the process and results are unsustainable. Surprise!
I tried what your show suggests as "healthy food and exercise" for five years, what my treatment team refers to as my struggle with bulimia nervosa. I have never felt so disgusting and unhappy with my body and myself. In the name of "becoming healthier" and "shedding a few pounds" I spent years obsessively counting calories and pounds, and at some points, wondered if the only way to escape this torture was to die. (Here's more about my personal experience.)
Your show televises this all (minus the self-loathing and suicidal scenes) on an international platform. It is terrifying to me that this abuse is considered not only legal but also laudable. Given my experiences, and knowing the experiences of others after years of treatment, I believe we should all do everything we can to stop this.
There are other ways you can commercialize health without using shame and paranoia. Why not scrap the bullying and psychological trauma to create a show where contestants achieve a maintainable level of fitness that makes their lives fuller, better, and happier?
Angela and your petitioners
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