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On Monday Quantasia Sharpton appeared in a press conference with her lawyer Lisa Bloom to publicly accuse R&B singer Usher of not disclosing that he had genital herpes. Instead of discussing the details of the case, the internet focused on body-shaming Sharpton for being fat—and largely failed to take her allegations seriously.
Sharpton says she was picked out of a crowd during one of Usher’s shows where she was celebrating her 19th birthday, and later had sex with the artist in her hotel room. She tested negative for herpes, but says the lack of disclosure violated her rights. “Although I am negative I was upset by the reports, because I would never have consented if I would have known,” Sharpton said.
According to Sharpton, another accuser who has not publicly come forward has tested positive for genital herpes.
This situation highlights how being fat also fosters an egregious amount of dismissal and disbelief. Many simply can’t believe that Usher would have engaged in sex with Sharpton because of her size.
yall not finna sit here & tell ME that out of allllll the groupies , Usher picked HER . YALL NOT 😭 pic.twitter.com/JIJJwC91MP— baby face killa (@ColorBriBAD) August 7, 2017
This Chick 300 + Lbs Talkin About Usher Chose Her Out The Crowd And Smashed... pic.twitter.com/csjrkuCYNc— White Tyson (@MillerHieLife) August 7, 2017
We will believe her if she said usher gave her diabetes pic.twitter.com/QHwv2qETOr— Michael Blackson (@MichaelBlackson) August 7, 2017
Some online came to Sharpton’s defense, pointing out the ridiculousness of dismissing the accusation based on her weight.
Y'all so invested in "Thick Beyoncé" and "Thick Rihanna" but then fat shame and deny the humanity of an actual fat Black woman. #Usher— Ashleigh Shackelford (@ashleighthelion) August 7, 2017
are y’all really saying y’all dont believe usher’s accuser because the girl is big? that’s disgusting pic.twitter.com/kRTzsdayOa— prince (@dngerousprince) August 7, 2017
Discrimination against fat women can affect their access to healthcare, job stability, and legal protections. Even though the internet is obsessed with Rihanna’s recent weight gain, and the idea of being “thic,” this body-shaming reminds women that their value is dependent on how others perceive them.
Sarah Jasmine Montgomery is a Daily Dot contributor whose writing and criticism cover all things pop culture, with an emphasis on how communities of color impact physical and digital cultural spaces. Her writing and photography have also appeared in Texas Monthly, the Fader, Complex, and Billboard.