Jameela Jamil Defends Demi Lovato amid Frozen Yogurt Controversy, Slams 'Guilt Free' Diet Terminology
The Good Place star spoke out in support of Demi Lovato and said the singer is "one of few celebrities reminding us to look out for mental illness"
Jameela Jamil is coming to the defense of Demi Lovato after the singer received backlash for speaking out against a small California frozen yogurt shop.
Over the weekend, Lovato, 28, said that she had an "extremely hard" time ordering froyo from Los Angeles-based shop The Bigg Chill due to all the sugar-free and "diet foods" they offer.
After the shop replied to Lovato, explaining that some of their items are intended for diabetics, vegans, and people with Celiac disease, the "Dancing with the Devil" songstress still told The Big Chill to "do better" and "find a way to provide an inviting environment for all people with different needs. Including eating disorders." (Lovato later apologized for her comments, saying her "message has gotten misconstrued.")
Jamil, 35, addressed the controversy in two posts on her Instagram Story Monday, defending Lovato and slamming "guilt free" diet terminology.
"Ok, I want to try to avoid making the story bigger than it already is. But if an eating disorder advocate says she sees products that are positioned as guilt free, and it is potentially triggering, that doesn't mean she's too stupid to remember that diabetics exist," The Good Place actress wrote. "It just means that we need to change the marketing of products that are for people's medical needs."
"That's all @ddlovato was asking for," added Jamil. "It doesn't make her a monster. It doesn't mean she disregards people's illnesses. She's just one of few celebrities reminding us to look out for mental illness. Guilt free is diet culture terminology. We need to stop using that f---ing term. We are so lucky to even have food. What in the name of s--- and hell is there to feel guilty about. That's a term of shame. Orthorexia is easy to slip into and is a F---ing nightmare to crawl out of. I think it's good to keep raising awareness on this matter until eating disorder rhetoric is OUT of our normalized mainstream culture. We say words like this all the time. Electing foods for virtue or sin. Cheat, guilty, naughty, bad, unhealthy … etc. all problematic terminology."
Jamil, who has been open about her mental health struggles in the past, continued her defense of Lovato in a second slide, writing, "But what I was mostly curious about is watching people rush to deliberately misunderstand her intention and stance, and frame her as ignorant and careless, and inherently bad. Pile ons of mockery of the people who are constantly trying to help … are problematic in ways we don't consider. You're not just discouraging the person in question from making themselves vulnerable in order to help others, you're discouraging future people from doing the same. From risking the pile on in their pursuit of trying to help others."
"Unless you are also constantly trying to help and advocate for other people, I don't think it's a great move of character to pile onto those who do," the star said, also adding, "We contribute to the silence and silencing of all women when we go THIS hard (people mocking her was the number 1 trending topic on Twitter all day … rather than lawmakers taking away trans rights, healthcare … rather than talking about gun laws …) Just please think about the bigger picture."
She wrote, "It's absolutely important to push for accountability from those in power who make mistakes, but what I'm seeing online is mostly not that. It's just mockery and cruelty, and maligning of a woman's character who is navigating unchartered territory of being super famous, super young, super outspoken, super honest and vulnerable and super fragile and strong at the same time."
Lovato reposted Jamil's lengthy message on her own Instagram Story and wrote, "THANK YOU QUEEN. LITERALLY SO GRATEFUL YOU GET ME AND THAT I CAN CALL YOU A CLOSE FRIEND. I LOVE YOU."
Lovato, who has long been open about her struggles with an eating disorder and body image, apologized for her comments about the frozen yogurt shop in an Instagram video Monday.
"When I messaged this froyo place, originally I wanted to make a point, and I wanted to call out behaviors or branding things that didn't sit right with me," she said. "As someone who deals with an eating disorder and is in recovery from an eating disorder, I still to this day have a hard time walking into a froyo shop, ordering yogurt and being content with it and keeping it down."
The Grammy nominee went on to explain that while she was in the store, it "wasn't clear" to her that all of the "diet" and "health food" options were "for specific health needs."
"I didn't know that," she said. "Because it wasn't clear, I definitely jumped to conclusions and probably shouldn't have gone about this the way that I have, but I'm willing to talk to this froyo shop to help get the messaging right."
Lovato went on to stress that her intention was never to come "after a small business as someone with a lot of followers." She also said that she's open to working with the frozen yogurt shop "to help align the messaging to where I feel safe going in there and I can eat the froyo that I went there for."
"People with eating disorders should be able to go in and feel safe wherever they go to eat. That's all I'm asking. Literally all I'm asking," she continued. "If we can make this environment safer for everyone, including people that are in recovery from an eating disorder and just want a little froyo, if we can do that while also giving froyo to vegans and people with diabetes, let's go."
If you or someone you know is battling an eating disorder, please contact the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) at 1-800-931-2237 or go to NationalEatingDisorders.org.