Weight discrimination | Friends star told to lose weight before securing sitcom job

Friends star told to lose weight before securing sitcom job

Few shows have managed to maintain such a powerful presence in popular culture more than Friends.

The long-running sitcom about a group of twenty-somethings bumbling through their careers and relationships captured the feeling of the 90s, and audiences grew to invest heavily in the will-they-won’t-they romance between Ross Geller and Rachel Green.

The show launched the career of a young Jennifer Aniston and secured her place as one of Hollywood’s top leading ladies, however, according to a new book set to analyse the ‘secrets’ of the show on its 25th anniversary, Aniston was ordered to lose over two stone after her agent considered her to be ‘too heavy’ to make it in Hollywood — Metro reported.

“She had to lose thirty pounds if she wanted to stay in Hollywood,” Saul Austerlitz stated in his book, Generation Friends: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era. “Los Angeles was a tough place to be an actress — it was a tough place to be a woman — and Jennifer Aniston’s agent was reluctantly levelling with her.

"Aniston was hardly fat; everyone could see she was beautiful, but as the show, she would one day become indelibly associated with later made a point of noting, the camera added ten pounds,” he concluded.

In an interview with Rolling Stone in 1996, Aniston confirmed the story, stating: “My agent gave it to me straight. The disgusting thing of Hollywood, I wasn’t getting lots of jobs cause I was too heavy.”

Fat-shaming ‘on the rise’

Whilst the actions of Aniston’s manager are undoubtedly a serious issue for HR, evidence discovered by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that fat-shaming is becoming more prolific in certain sectors. The issue has become the subject of public scrutiny due to statements made by US comedian Bill Maher, who recently voiced his endorsement for publicly fat-shaming people – something he says will promote weight loss. Maher controversially announced that fat-shaming “needs to make a comeback”.

However, actor and talk show host James Corden was quick to highlight the negative implications of Maher’s approach. "So, I sat at home and I'm watching this and all I could think of, I was like, oh, man, somebody needs to say something about this!" Corden said on his show The Late Show With James Corden.

"If only there was someone with a platform who knew what it was actually like to be overweight, and then I realised, 'Oh, that will be me.'"

“Fat-shaming never went anywhere," he continued. "Ask literally any fat person. We are reminded of it all the time — on aeroplanes, on Instagram. It's proven that fat-shaming only does one thing," he said. "It makes people feel ashamed, and shame leads to depression, anxiety and self-destructive behaviour. Let's be honest, fat-shaming is just bullying. It's bullying, and bullying only makes the problem worse,” he concluded.

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Comments (2)

  • D
    Wed, 18 Mar 2020 6:45am GMT
    Hello E! Of course you should not have to be shamed for your weight either. That is exactly the point. No person is ONLY their weight, and as James Corden correctly pointed out, shaming does not encourage anyone or get the result the supposed "helpful" person claims to be encouraging, it only makes the problem worse. There are many ways they've been able to prove that shaming people for their shortcomings in most cases actually changes the behavior or issue. I found your correct comments about everyone's right not to have to listen to supposed well-meaning "constructive criticism" because others don't know your circumstances overshadowed by the rather nasty way you state your case. However, I am very glad you are able to believe you look wonderful despite what others say, which is great you have confidence in yourself. However, I'm sad you feel like contrasting your fabulous look to overweight people's in a derogatory way is how you answer your gripe about unwanted comments towards you. How about, be polite and a do unto other's response where no one should have to put up with others not-so-well-meaning comments on their appearance? I prefer to always demand of myself in social situations: "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" test that my mother taught me. It's disgusting that most people find it easier to say something nasty than to pay a complement or to just shutup. Most people, if they can feel good about themselves in one area to start, will tend to start to make improvements in other areas as well...which is why a good manager technique is always the "sandwich" : you do this well, we need to improve this, you do this well. People don't do well when all they get is constant criticism, everyone needs something to feel good about to make progress and self-improvement. I hope you read this and realize bitterness and hate is not the answer to helping people, sadly, that doesn't seem obvious to a lot of people. Congratulations on your healthy lifestyle and look, it sounds like you make an big effort at that and I'm sure it shows and I'm glad you don't let the rude comments get to you!
  • E
    Fri, 20 Sep 2019 3:08pm BST
    Thin-shaming is also a problem. The number of times my colleagues have made comments to me because I have lost weight for the good of my own health and wellbeing is out of order and could also be described as bullying then. Why should I have to explain why I don't want to eat a cake at the latest office bake sale or go for a drink after work? Has anyone asked Jennifer Aniston how she feels now about her healthy lifestyle and figure to match before jumping to the conclusion that pointing out that someone is overweight is a bad thing?

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