Trump Appointee Wouldn’t Hire Fat People

Bad DoctorDelos “Toby” Cosgrove, CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, was recently selected by Trump to join an advisory committee that, according to a news release by the administration”brings together CEOs and business leaders who know what it takes to create jobs and drive economic growth. My administration is committed to drawing on private sector expertise and cutting the government red tape that is holding back our businesses from hiring, innovating, and expanding right here in America.”

You may remember Toby from that time he told a New York Times reporter (for an article whose misinformation could be the subject of its own blog post) that he thinks “obesity” is a disease, and that if it were up to him he would refuse to hire “obese” people.  There are massive problems with the idea of considering a body size to be a disease.  There are massive problems with a medical professional insisting that eating less and exercising more “solves obesity” despite the fact that  the research doesn’t, in any way, back him up. There are also massive problems with the Cleveland Clinic’s own wellness program and hospital performance, which wellness expert Al Lewis points out in this great piece.

Those are serious problems, but not the biggest problem here.  The biggest problem is that Toby thinks that “obesity” is a disease,  and he would refuse to hire “obese” people.  So what he is saying is that, as a doctor and healthcare executive, he thinks it’s ok to discriminate against people who have a disease (in this case a disease whose only common “symptom” is the end result of a math equation.)

He is a medical doctor who is literally advocating healthism and sizeism as a hiring strategy, completely disregarding the qualifications of the applicant. And now he is on a forum that’s going to make recommendations to the government about hiring.  Not great news for fat people who want to be hired and paid for our skills, and not based on other people’s bigotry, stereotypes, and misconceptions.

To be clear, donald campaigned on a platform of blatant racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, misogyny, and anti-queer and anti-trans sentiment, was supported and endorsed by the KKK, and has created his cabinet with people who believe the same, so fat people in the US are among many groups who now find ourselves citizens of a country where members of the administration are excited to oppress us.

That’s why it’s important that we not let things like this go by without comment, that we not allow this to become normalized, and above all that we not allow other people’s bigotry to make us question our self-worth.

Imagine if instead of refusing to hire qualified, talented fat people, we refused to hire bigots to consult with the government about hiring. That would be progress.

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5 thoughts on “Trump Appointee Wouldn’t Hire Fat People

  1. Mainstream society: Fatphobia isn’t real! Nobody discriminates against fat people just because of the way they look!

    Fat job applicant: Will you hire me?

    Doctor: No. We have to keep a certain image of health. I know fat people aren’t inherently unhealthy, because I have that data right in front of my eyeballs every day, but it’s about how it looks.

    Fat job applicant: Will you hire me?

    Bank: No. We have to keep a certain image of professionalism. Sure, your resume is longer than my car insurance policy, but it’s about how it looks.

    Fat job applicant: Will you hire me?

    Boutique: No. We have to keep a certain image of class. That’s a lovely Treesje you’re carrying, and it coordinates so well with your Kate Spade pumps, but it’s about how it looks.

    Fat job applicant: Will you hire me?

    Gym: No. I’ve seen that your mile is well under our hiring requirements, that your push-ups and crunches are in the top 10% of adults in your age group, and that you have years of dancing experience, but it’s about how it looks.

    Fat job applicant: Will YOU hire me?

    McDonald’s: No. We don’t want people thinking you got fat eating our food. I know you’re a vegetarian and were fat when you got here, but it’s about how it looks.

    Yeah, I’m not exactly brimming with confidence that someone who’s supposed to be in control of economic growth is willing to shaft qualified personnel because of “how it looks.”

  2. Oh great. What will he discriminate next? Disabilities, because it costs extra to give someone ‘special’ treatment?

    I now want to get a job so I can donate to organizations like ACLU.

  3. It’s been going on for a long time. I’ve had people laugh in my face, literally laugh, when I’ve applied for jobs. Then ask me idiotic questions to the tone of “Do you REALLY think you can do X, Y, Z. Do you REALLY think you have what it takes to do these tasks”. And they list tasks that aren’t even that difficult. They look at me and think that I can’t even lift anything over 5 pounds or even bend over. Like what? Really? They look at my fat body and think that I’m completely incapable of doing anything at all physical. It’s so messed up.

    I even had a lady gleefully make me jump through a bunch of really weird hoops to PROVE that I could physically do the job when I had just watched two other applicants (non-fat people) get interviewed and none of them were put through what she put me through or made to do the weird things I was being made to do to prove that I could physically do the job.

    And even though I jumped through her stupid hoops and did all the weird things she asked me to do to prove that I was more than physically capable of doing the job, she soon had a frown on her face when she saw that I was doing everything she was telling me to do and doing it EASILY. She actually started to stammer and get indignant as I did what she asked and proved I could do it with ease, she then told me “well, you really don’t have the LOOK we’re after to represent our business”. …Yeah, there it is.

    This has happened repeatedly in my life. One of the jobs I applied to was a child care job opening that said “looking for a sitter” and I said that I was an experienced sitter. She then laughed and said, “yeah, I’ll BET you have a lot of ‘sitting’ experience”. I couldn’t believe the blatant ignorance and bigotry. I just blinked and handed her my resume (which listed my many many years experience as a child care provider) in which she RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME threw in the trash.

    This same type of thing had went on for years and I finally had to give up looking for employment for other people and had to start working for myself. I’m now self-employed and work from home. Not because I want to, but because I HAVE to. Because people take one look at my body and my size and laugh me out of the room. It’s disgusting and it’s horrible and it’s only going to get worse until we stop this ignorant “war on obesity” and the society sanctioned bigotry and discrimination against fat people.

  4. I agree, Ragen. The very first thing that popped into my head, too, was that he thinks obesity is a disease, and yet won’t hire obese people, because they have a disease, and diseased people, apparently, can’t be allowed to work, even if they are physically able.

    But, for goodness’ sake, don’t declare these diseased, unable-to-work-because-no-one-will-hire-them people to be “disabled” by their “disease,” because bootstraps, and they can “just lose weight” despite the whole “disease” thing.

    Like, why does no one say, “Just heal yourself,” to someone with an ACTUAL disease? Oh, yeah! Because BODIES DON’T WORK THAT WAY!

    Logic. They don’t use it, and are proud of it, and are meant to be leading our country.

    We’ll be third world, soon.

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