A comedian has garnered backlash for wearing a fat suit in multiple viral skits.
Early this month, the comedian Norman Freeman posted videos of their character Obese Betty, which Freeman performs while in a fat suit.
One of the videos shows Freeman struggling to get the fat suit into a pair of pants, another shows the character eating, and a third clip shows them drinking alcohol. All three of the videos went viral—one almost has 5 million views—but Freeman’s use of a fat suit has resulted in backlash for the comedian.
Freeman did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment.
In a TikTok posted last week, plus-sized fashion influencer Muinat Abdul says that she “can’t believe people are still making jokes like this about fat bodies.”
“Was the fat suit really necessary?” Abdul says in her TikTok. “What year is this?”
While Abdul received some comments telling her that she should “lighten up,” others said they agreed that Freeman’s video was hurtful.
“To the people saying that it’s only a joke, it’s not the 00’s any more,” @themindsetnutritionist commented. “We are progressing as we should. Maybe move with the times.”
“When ppl run outta funny. They hop to fatphobia, homophobia, etc,” @akabigtwen wrote.
Another TikToker, Bow Telphy (@omnimakeup), posted a video about Freeman’s use of a fat suit. She says that she doesn’t like Freeman’s Obese Betty character.
In an interview with the Daily Dot, Telphy said that “we should know that people with fat bodies are not only mistreated but dangerously discriminated against.”
“As a fat black woman myself, I see it first hand,” she told the Daily Dot. “[People] stereotype and judge.”
Telphy says Freeman is continuing this toxic practice.
“People view fat people as lazy, greedy, stinky, not as smart or worthy of equal treatment,” Telphy said. “So then you put on a fat suit, feeding into a false narrative. A narrative that is literally dangerous. A narrative that perpetuates the unfair work place norms.”
She concluded by saying that Freeman used to be funny—but putting on a fat suit was “nasty work.”
“It’s not funny comedy, sorry not sorry,” Telphy says in her TikTok. “It’s lazy, it’s cheap, it’s out of touch.”
Telphy goes on to say that comedy in a fat suit “doesn’t need to be done” because “the fat is supposed to be the funny part.”
“It’s disappointing,” Telphy says. She also shares that she unfollowed Freeman after seeing the Obese Betty character.
A commenter on Telphy’s video said they were happy that she spoke up about Freeman.
“I’m so glad I’m not the only one who felt like this,” @beebeebun wrote.
Update 2:30pm CT, Aug. 21: This article has been updated with comments from the Daily Dot’s interview with Bow Telphy.