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Jameela Jamil Getty 1.jpg

Saying Nothing Is Always an Option, Jameela Jamil

By Kayleigh Donaldson | Celebrity | August 4, 2023 |

By Kayleigh Donaldson | Celebrity | August 4, 2023 |


Jameela Jamil Getty 1.jpg

Oh, Jameela Jamil. She tries so hard and yet…

I always feel a twinge of hesitation when it comes to writing about Jamil, the actress, TV presenter, and activist, because she attracts a lot of bad takes and garden variety cruelty. It’s easy to turn one person, especially one so eager to be part of these earnest and progressive conversations, into the punching bag for the wider concerns they seemingly embody. A lot of the time, Jamil’s online presence feels like the millennial version of Joyce Carol Oates: occasional glimpses of astute and welcome rhetoric balanced out with buck-wild takes. Now, she’s inserted herself into the controversy surrounding Lizzo.

Lizzo is being sued by several of her dancers for sexual harassment, among other charges. The accusations are eye-opening and often tough to read. Since then, a number of people who worked with the singer have come forward to express how difficult it was to work with her, and how her image of positivity and kindness was a facade for endless cruelty and bullying. Lizzo recently released a statement that was about as far from an apology as one could possibly imagine. The whole thing reads like the PR spin of a highly aggressive lawyer, which is no surprise since she’s now hired the infamous Marty Singer, who previously represented Johnny Depp and Bill Cosby. Notably, not many major or minor celebrities have spoken up in favour of Lizzo, which was what made it curious when Jamil left this comment under the Instagram statement.


Okay, not much of a comment, but a row of love hearts is a pretty telling sign of support in internet speak, right? Social media responded accordingly, noting how being defended by Jamil is now something of a death knell for the supposedly canceled. It’s even a joke in Gossip Girl! Jamil then took to Instagram Stories to continue making the whole incident all about her.


Jamela Jameel defending herself after commenting on Lizzo’s statement
by u/Glum-Barracuda6985 in Fauxmoi

*sigh*

Again, this is the problem with writing about or discussing Jamil: you don’t want to continue making everything about her but that’s her default mode of conversation on every topic. And this statement, which is way longer than Lizzo’s mess, is like a foghorn for attention. Where do we even begin with it?

You know what, she’s not necessarily wrong that people are constantly looking for an excuse to mock people’s bodies, especially Lizzo’s. It’s been telling how the media at large has tried to position Lizzo as the sole queen and dictator of all forms of body positivity activism, and that through her being revealed as a bully who mocked and punished her own employees for their bodies, the movement is suddenly null and void. That is a discussion people have been having online, most notably the Black women with whom much of the modern body positivity rhetoric originated. But that’s not why people were mad at Jamil. They were mad at her seeming support of someone accused of sexual harassment and bullying of her employees, many of whom are fat Black women.

Talking about how Black women are dragged unfairly by the media is a good thing, but in this context, when it’s Black women who are calling out Lizzo and putting themselves in the crosshairs of her expensive and nasty legal team, how does that work? It’s especially galling to compare Lizzo being sued for sexual harassment to Megan Thee Stallion being shot.

What is Jamil trying to stand for here? Other than herself? It’s a mess, but it also embodies the very specific way that Lizzo was able to accumulate a lot of power through which she could hurt those who looked up to her.

You shouldn’t support a woman who is a shitbag just because men do the same for the worst examples of their gender. The whole thing comes across as performative and smarmy, and yet another embodiment of why so many people just roll their eyes whenever Jamil talks. Not everything has to be about you, especially not a sexual harassment suit against your fave singer.