Emily Blunt's fatphobic apology is only the beginning of this story.

Unlike the generations who came before us, who were partial to a game of cricket or a spot of polo, our current sport of choice is hunting down old problematic celebrity interviews in a quest for TikTok fame.

The latest celebrity thrown into this particular game is Emily Blunt, thanks to her resurfaced appearance from a 2012 episode of the Jonathan Ross Show, where she made a blatant fatphobic comment while promoting her then-new movie Looper.

While the 40-year-old actress' supporting performance in Looper opposite Bruce Willis may have fallen out of pop culture relevance over the years, the memories of internet sleuths were not as short when it came to digging up a comment she made about a woman working in the US restaurant chain Chili's.

In the resurfaced clip, Emily reminisces about eating dinner at a Chili's while filming Looper, to which host Jonathan Ross replied, "If you go to Chili's you can see why so many of our American friends are enormous.

"Well the girl who was serving me was enormous, I think she got freebie meals at Chilli's," Emily replied before segueing into a story about how the woman had recognised her and asked about the movie she was filming.

It was a small moment but one that picked up steam quickly once it found its way online last week, prompting Emily to release an apology via People magazine: "I just need to address this head-on as my jaw was on the floor watching this clip from 12 years ago," she said. "I'm appalled that I would say something so insensitive, hurtful, and unrelated to whatever story I was trying to tell on a talk show.


"I’ve always considered myself someone who wouldn't dream of upsetting anyone so whatever possessed me to say anything like this in that moment is unrecognisable to me or anything I stand for," she continued. "And yet it happened, and I said it and I'm so sorry for any hurt caused. I was absolutely old enough to know better."

It was an apology designed to shut the conversation down, but in reality, all it did was cause a deep chasm to erupt between the people following this tale.

Listen to The Spill hosts discuss Emily Blunt's fatphobic apology. Post continues below.

In one camp was a rabid defense of the beloved actress, whose seemingly dreamy marriage to fellow actor John Krasinski has developed its own fandom and who has never before put such a foot wrong on the press circuit.

On the other side are the people revelling in the mounting pile-on of a traditionally attractive and successful woman; an attack that would cut particularly deep at this moment in time as the campaign for her first Oscar nomination for Oppenheimer begins to fall into place.

And then there are the voices that don't scream as loudly; the ones who hear fatphobic comments like this baked into the conversations around them on a daily basis. Who recognise that a comment like this has not just 'aged badly', it was never appropriate to begin with. Even when laughingly voiced by the woman who brought Emily Charlton to life in The Devil Wears Prada.


Yet no one voiced this level of concern at the time of this interview going to air.

It would be easy to now consider this an open-and-shut case, and for us to all giddily move on to the next stage of TikTok celebrity vigilante justice, knowing that Emily has been suitably punished for her past talk -show crimes. But what we now need to consider is that this conversation, and the accompanying apology, is just the beginning of the real conversation we need to have.

What Emily's comment highlights is that internalised fatphobia has been so deeply ingrained in all of us that comments like this, whether voiced on a talk show or shared around an office lunchroom, can sail by unnoticed unless pulled out and examined under a solo spotlight.

All because a sentence like the one Emily voiced could so closely mirror subconscious thoughts that circle in our own minds, no matter what size body we live in.

As we've always been subconsciously taught to equate fatness with greed, overeating, laziness, and general disassociation from the useful members of society.

There is also a sense of easy escapism when it comes to calling out an A-list actress for fatphobia. To add your voice to an online army all sharing a unified war cry, safe in the knowledge that even the subject of the backlash agrees with the crime she's being accused of.


There is also little to no chance that anyone who took part in this online take-down will ever have their words read by Emily Blunt, or have the opportunity to discuss this with her face to face.

To truly move this conversation forward, I'd be more interested to know if these same people, the ones who were so quick to call Emily out, would do the same in their own workplaces, group chats, family gatherings, or even to that loud guy in front of you at the bar who doesn't seem like he would be worth your time but could definitely use a crash course in body politics.

Despite the commercialisation of the body positivity movement, fatphobia, in both external and internal forms, is still so prevalent in our society. Yet it still sits in the realm of 'uncomfortable conversations' and so often goes unchecked.

So before we become wrapped up in crucifying an actress who made a hurtful comment on a talk show more than a decade ago, and who has publicly apologised for it, we need to take this conversation into our everyday lives, where the real change needs to occur.

Laura Brodnik is Mamamia's Head of Entertainment and host of The Spill podcast. You can follow her on Instagram here.

Feature Image: Getty.

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