Jameela Jamil called a wellness influencer’s Times Square billboard advertising her weight-loss website ‘fat-phobic’

A side by side actress and activist Jameela Jamil and the billboard in Times Square which asks 'feeling fat and lazy?'
Jamil called out the billboard for having ‘fat-phobic’ messaging. Deborah Cappacio, Gary Gershoff/via Getty Images
  • Jameela Jamil branded a $US13,000 ($AU17,647) billboard in Times Square “fat-phobic.”
  • Picturing a plus-size woman, the advert asks passers-by whether they’re feeling “fat and lazy.”
  • Deborah Capaccio, the influencer behind the billboard, told Insider she has no regrets about it.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A billboard put up by a wellness influencer in New York City’s Times Square was labeled “fat-phobic” by actor and activist Jameela Jamil.

The billboard, placed on the southeast corner of West 48th Street and 7th Avenue, features an image of a plus-size woman in a sports bra looking downcast, along with a photo of wellness influencer Deborah Capaccio. The billboard asks the question: “Feeling fat and lazy?”

Posting on Twitter on Saturday, Jamil called Capaccio’s wellness company Get Your Sparkle Back Girl “predatory” and said the advert was attempting to shame people into changing their bodies. Jamil is also the founder of the body positive Instagram account I Weigh, which has over 1.3 million followers.

In a follow-up tweet posted shortly after, Jamil, 35, spoke about her personal struggles with weight.

“I was at my laziest when I was anorexic because I didn’t have the energy to move because I was starving myself to avoid the stigma that comes with fat,” she wrote. “You know who isn’t lazy? Lizzo and all of her extremely athletic dancers. I hate that these disgusting adverts are in Times Sq.”

She doubled down the criticism in an Instagram post on Sunday, writing: “This is a blatantly fat phobic and also quite ableist ad. It bothers me to no end that we are still yet to recognize cruelty and offense to fat people as hate speech.”

Wellness influencer Deborah Capaccio (left) and activist Jameela Jamil (right).
Deborah Capaccio (left) said she disagreed with Jameela Jamil’s criticism of her weight loss billboard. Deborah Capaccio, Leigh Vogel/via Getty Images

In an email sent to Insider on Thursday, Capaccio said she disagreed with Jamil’s criticism.

“The words fat and lazy were specifically used on the billboard after interviewing hundreds of women suffering from yo-yo dieting and body image issues,” Capaccio said.

Describing the concept behind the billboard, Capaccio added: “The idea behind using these words is to mirror these words back to the women suffering, triggering their response of discomfort, and to motivate them to go to our website where they can see they aren’t alone using this terrible language.”

Capaccio, who has 22 years of experience as a physical therapist, told Insider she has struggled with body image issues throughout her adult life. “I too called myself fat, lazy, amongst other terrible words,” she said.

When asked if she regrets the billboard, which she said cost $US13,000 ($AU17,647) and will likely be up until the end of July, Capaccio responded: “Not at all.”

Representatives for Jamil declined to comment when contacted by Insider.