Katie Hopkins, a former contestant on The Apprentice UK, made news today saying that she would not hire an obese person. Charmingly, she didn’t just make this declaration in general but rather chose to tell a woman who was sharing her experience of discrimination in her job search. Before the show Katie tweeted “A 24 stone individual does not ‘fit’ my business.” See what she did there – with weight and the word “fit?” Katie is oh so clever, which she probably credits to being thin.
Help me out, what’s the word that means making judgments about, and taking opportunities away from, people based on how they look? Oh right, it’s bigotry. Pure and simple.
But wait…there’s more.
Katie explains that it’s not just her own bigotry that would make her deny employment to someone based on their size and regardless of their qualifications… it’s the perceived possible bigotry of her clients. “Would I want to put someone in front of a client who looks like this? Do they look dynamic? Do they look disciplined? Do they look highly efficient? Well, no, speaking frankly. And therefore, Jay wouldn’t be someone that I would employ.”
Katie is really putting the ass in classy. I have to wonder if her willingness to appease bigotry extends only to clients who are size bigots, or does it extend to other forms of bigotry as well? Who else isn’t Katie hiring because she’s afraid that they will cause her bigoted clients to have to get over themselves? Why is anyone in the world ok with this?
Even if someone believes that weight loss is possible and laudable, surely they don’t believe it’s possible overnight. By these people’s estimation are fat people are just supposed to stay unemployed until we reach a level at which bigoted people will perceive them as dynamic and disciplined? Digging through our couch cushions for money to pay for our Weight Watchers meetingx? Or, regardless of our talents, education, and qualifications, should we find a job where nobody can see us until Katie thinks we look dynamic enough?
If you live in Michigan your state laws offer you some protection. Almost everywhere else in the United States this type of hiring discrimination is completely legal.
People seem to think that this is ok because they have a negative view of fat people, and because they think that if they have a negative view of someone then that person deserves to be discriminated against in hiring situations. And that’s a point of view that I think should absolutely terrify people.
Perhaps Katie is a common bigot and she is proud of it, or perhaps Katie is an attention junkie desperate for some media attention and she’s doing it on the backs of fat people. I don’t believe that all publicity is good publicity, I do believe in calling out bigotry when I see it and man do I see it here. I can only hope that this kind of bare, unadulterated bigotry will help people see why the way that we treat fat people needs to change quickly and completely.
If you are in the Massachusetts area you can come here me speak or take dance class with me – these are free and open to the public today (Thursday):
Every Body Dance Workshop @ 3:00pm in Recreation Center, UMass Amherst
The Positive Body @ 7:30pm in Student Union Ballroom, UMass Amherst
Like the blog? Here’s more of my stuff:
The Book: Fat: The Owner’s Manual The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details
The Dance Class DVDs: Buy the Dance Class DVDs for Every Body Dance Now! Click here for the details
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I do size acceptance activism full time. I created a membership program so that people who read the blog and feel they get value out of it and want to support the work I do can become members for ten bucks a month To make that even cooler, I’ve now added a component called “DancesWithFat Deals” which are special deals to my members from size positive merchants. Once you are a member I send out an e-mail once a month with the various deals and how to redeem them – your contact info always stays completely private.