A top TV doctor has been heavily criticised for making an online joke about weight gain during the pandemic.
Dr Christian Jessen, best known for hosting and providing medical advice on primetime shows such as Embarrassing Bodies and Supersize vs Superskinny, has been slammed by some Twitter users about a recent comment he made.
Published on May 11, the post has attracted a negative response with one person suggesting his comment could be associated with medical fatphobia.
That is a term used when overweight people experience discriminative behaviour from healthcare professionals which can lead to conditions either being misdiagnosed or going untreated.
Dr Jessen’s comment, deemed offensive by some, said: “Corona tip No. 17: if you are struggling with weight gain during lockdown, try keeping your mask on indoors.”
He then followed it up by suggesting he is following his own advice, by saying: “I know I am.”
However, many people seemed to take offence to his seemingly jokey comment.
A Twitter user called Beth said: “[ed, fatphobia] When you’ve spent more than half your life struggling with disordered eating, exacerbated by shows like ‘Supersize vs Superskinny’ (presented by Dr Jessen), it’s particularly galling to see jokes like this when some of us are incredibly vulnerable.”
Laura, another online Tweeter, added: “Corona tip No.18: if you are a TV doc who wants to make unprofessional fat jokes on Twitter wear gloves so you can’t type on your phone.”
Razzle Dazzle said: “The answer is not always that simple. Slightly disappointed by this tweet tbh. Would you suggest to those struggling with mental health issues to ‘pull your socks up’.”
And Sasha said: “NOT every thought MUST be shared in Twitter. I’m sure those suffering from eating disorders are struggling during this lockdown and trying not to relapse. Having to find new coping strategies & find a healthy balance. This is awful advice from a doctor.”
However, there were some people on Twitter who leapt to his defense saying his comment was not meant to be taken that way, including another TV personality, Davina McCall, who wrote: “R u joking? It’s a joke. He’s not being serious.”
Despite the online criticism, it has not stopped the doctor from using Twitter as he has since written many posts on a range of different subjects.