The drama started when Michaels -- a personal trainer, fitness expert and The Biggest Loser star -- sat down for an interview with BuzzFeed’s AM to DM series and got into a conversation with host Alex Berg about celebrities who promote self-acceptance.
When the chat touched on Lizzo's frequent messages of body positivity and self-love, Michaels said that fans should be celebrating the artist's songs, but not her body.
"Why are we celebrating her body?” Michaels replied. “Why does it matter? That’s what I’m saying. Like why aren’t we celebrating her music? ‘Cause it isn’t gonna be awesome if she gets diabetes."
"I'm just being honest. I love her music, my kid loves her music, but there's never a moment when I'm like, ‘I'm so glad she's overweight.' Why do I even care? Why is it my job to care about her weight?" she added.
.@JillianMichaels on Lizzo: "Why are we celebrating her body? Why does it matter? Why aren't we celebrating her music? 'Cause it isn't gonna be awesome if she gets diabetes." pic.twitter.com/FkKBd8J87b— AM2DM by BuzzFeed News (@AM2DM) January 8, 2020
Michaels also explained during the chat that she doesn't think it's right to "glorify obesity."
Many of Lizzo's fans and fellow celebrities quickly took to Twitter to slam Michaels for her remarks, and to accuse her of promoting insecurity for her own gain.
Jillian Michaels hates her own body and is worried that if other people hate their bodies less, they'll stop buying the shit she peddles. She's worried about the bottom line, not Lizzo's health (or yours, or mine.)— Sara Benincasa (@SaraJBenincasa) January 8, 2020
Just saying... MY WHOLE DAMN THIN FAMILY HAS DIABETES AND HIGH CHOLESTEROL AND PROBLEMS WITH OUR JOINTS. Why is This woman acting like she’s an MRI? Stop concern-trolling fat people and get in the bin. 🚮 https://t.co/2fKVJrkWm3— Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) January 8, 2020
Lizzo spends hours every night singing and playing the flute during intensive dance cardio. Just admit that the only self worth you've found for yourself is in your thinness, Jillian, then go to therapy & do the work to love yourself.— 🐺Mira (@LostWolfling) January 8, 2020
Jillian Michaels came to prominence torturing fat people on television for entertainment. She is loudly and proudly anti-fat because otherwise she can’t make money. Her living depends on anti-fat bigotry. https://t.co/LHLQlpNoYE— Mx. Amadi (@amaditalks) January 8, 2020
Jillian Michaels is a fatphobic hypocrite. “We shouldn’t be celebrating her body”...but her body is literally what she’s known for. She’s only saying that because people accepting fatness is a detriment to the money she makes by perpetuating harmful anti-fat ideals. https://t.co/UbZn8Vfu4u— 𝔸 ℝ𝕒𝕧𝕖𝕟 𝔹𝕒𝕩𝕥𝕖𝕣 𝕆𝕣𝕚𝕘𝕚𝕟𝕒𝕝 🧣👜 (@fluffyblkboy) January 8, 2020
Why do people always jump to “they gonna get diabetes”?!? Thin people have diabetes too. Just saying... pic.twitter.com/0hSQXt3dAO— Erika with a “K” (@ImperfectMz) January 8, 2020
Michaels later addressed the controversy in a statement posted to Twitter on Wednesday afternoon.
"As I've stated repeatedly, we are all beautiful, worthy and equally deserving. I also feel strongly that we love ourselves enough to acknowledge there are serious health consequences that come with obesity—heart disease, diabetes, cancer to name only a few," she wrote. "I would never wish these for ANYONE and I would hope we prioritize our health because we LOVE ourselves and our bodies."
For her part, Lizzo has not commented on the drama, which began just days after the "Juice" artist said she planned on taking a break from social media due to Twitter trolls and negativity.