Netflix's Insatiable Has Been Accused Of Fat Shaming

Netflix is facing accusations of body shaming and fatphobia following the release of a trailer for its upcoming series Insatiable, which sees a teenager lose a vast amount of weight and seek revenge over the classmates who bullied her.
Critics on social media have condemned the premise of the comedy series, calling it "lazy" and triggering for people with eating disorders. More than 95k people have signed a petition calling on Netflix to cancel its 10th August release.
The trailer sees actor Debby Ryan don a fat suit to play central character Patty, nicknamed "Fatty Patty" by her classmates, who has her jaw wired shut to lose weight during the summer holidays. "High school was a nightmare," she opines.
"While my classmates were out losing their virginity, I was at home stuffing another hole. Every day I wondered 'How much more of this [name calling] I can take'? Then it hit me." She is then shown being punched in the face for being fat, before it cuts to show her having lost a significant amount of weight and embarking on her vengeful plan.
"Having my jaw wired shut lost me more than just my summer vacation. Now, I could be the former fatty who turned into a brain. Or an athlete. Or a princess. No – I’d rather have revenge."
Critics have slammed the show for using a slim actor wearing a fat suit to play the protagonist, describing it as "lazy" and "uncreative", with some saying they missed the opportunity to tell real fat people's stories in a thoughtful way.
The biggest criticisms were of the series' premise, with many saying it perpetuates problematic stereotypes of fat women, reinforces the "revenge body" trope and encourages starvation as a weight-loss method.
However, the show's writer and executive producer Lauren Gussis has suggested this wasn't the show's intention, saying it was based on her own experiences of bullying as a teenager. "I really felt like it was important to look at [bullying] head on and talk about it," she told Teen Vogue.
"And what are young women and, frankly, young men taught about appearance and how much appearance matters and whether it's OK to look different and it's OK to be different, and the feeling of 'not enough' which kind of leads through all of the characters.
"Because every single character in this show has a hole that they’re trying to fill and they’re insatiable for something whether it be validation or love, or money or power."
Actor Alyssa Milano, who stars in the show, leapt to its defence on Twitter, saying the intention was to "[address] (through comedy) the damage that occurs from fat shaming."
The current backlash mirrors that seen against the Netflix film To The Bone last year, which critics claimed glamorised anorexia and believed would be triggering to vulnerable viewers with eating disorders. Netflix defended the film, saying it wanted to raise awareness of the issue.
Refinery29 UK has contacted Netflix for comment.

More from Global News

R29 Original Series