Cancer Research UK is currently running a campaign to bring awareness to the fact that obesity is the "second biggest preventable cause" of cancer after smoking. They're being somewhat aggressive with it, airing commercials and running adverts and billboards:
Comedian Sofie Hagen started tweeting about the campaign—she'd like to see it come down.
Hagen has a pretty big following, so Cancer Research Uk noticed her complaints, and responded. They assured her that they weren't trying to shame people for being overweight, just trying to raise awareness:
(1/2) Hi Sofie, our campaign isn’t meant to make anyone feel bad about their weight or make anyone think negatively about people who are overweight or obese. Our aim is to raise awareness of the link between cancer and obesity…— Cancer Research UK (@CR_UK) February 28, 2018
What your campaign is doing is so incredibly damaging, that I can't even begin to describe it in only 280 characters. There are many people who have tweeted me their articles about it, try reading those. There is no excuse for you to have this campaign up.— Sofie Hagen (@SofieHagen) February 28, 2018
And you can absolutely go away in terms of trying to excuse it. Society viewing fatness as a negative thing is a thing that kills more than the cancer that you MIGHT get due to MAYBE something to do with you POSSIBLY weighing MORE than a CERTAIN weight POSSIBLY MAYBE.— Sofie Hagen (@SofieHagen) February 28, 2018
And BMI has been debunked DECADES ago. It's not a valid way of measuring anything. On the contrary, DIETING has been proved TIME AND TIME again to be one of the worst thing you can do to your body. Your campaign is so damaging and fatshaming and I really hope it gets taken down.— Sofie Hagen (@SofieHagen) February 28, 2018
Hagen argues that actually supporting people's health doesn't mean making them feel badly about their bodies or further demonizing their weight by implying they're asking to get cancer, and if they do, it's their own fault:
If people really cared about fat people’s health, why would they use shame, ridicule, abuse and fear to make them change their ways? Those are not things that make people want to take care of themselves. Those are making fat people feel unwell.— Sofie Hagen (@SofieHagen) March 2, 2018
So hey, hate fat people. But admit that you hate fat people. That whole ‘It is unhealthy’ speech is embarrassing and it’s getting old now. You don’t want us to be healthy, you want us to hate ourselves. Because you hate us. Own up to your bigotry.— Sofie Hagen (@SofieHagen) March 2, 2018
And do not even try me with the ‘but the NHS has to pay for’ bullshit because you know who else you have to pay for through your taxes? People who live to be fucking 95 years old because they’ve lived on kale and misery all their lives.— Sofie Hagen (@SofieHagen) March 2, 2018
Stop wrapping your fat hate in ‘pretending to care about our health’. Fuck off. Ever considered mental health? Why is that less important? What does shaming, bullying and harrassment do to a person? To children?— Sofie Hagen (@SofieHagen) March 2, 2018
Oh, and do not think I am talking about my own mental health right now. I am not reading your tweets or comments because your opinions mean less to me than you probably did to your parents. I am talking about the fat people you people hate - and thus hurt.— Sofie Hagen (@SofieHagen) March 2, 2018
If you genuinely think you care about the health of fat people, fine. Has centuries of shaming, bullying and scaring fat people made us lose weight? Or are there more fat people than ever?— Sofie Hagen (@SofieHagen) March 2, 2018
And I am not buying into fat being unhealthy - it’s not inherently unhealthy and even if it was, fat people can do whatever the fuck they want with their health - but if I did pretend to accept that, your arguments are still fucked up.— Sofie Hagen (@SofieHagen) March 2, 2018
You just hate fat people.
Hagen is not the only one who has a problem with this campaign. Lots of tweets are saying that Cancer Research UK should have considered how they drew attention to their research, because the trolls are using it as fuel:
Wow. Scaremongering fat people for money now? How about we talk details? Obesity is LINKED, not the absolute cause of the 13 cancers associated you have mentioned. Skin cancer and lung cancer are still the top 2 and yet I see no recent scare tactics towards them?— Daytona Mills (@DaytonaMills) February 28, 2018
Your wording in your ads is so misleading. Obesity does not CAUSE cancer, neither does smoking. Both can increase your risk but they do not cause it, hence why non-smokers and people with socially acceptable weight get cancer too. Disgrace.— Daytona Mills (@DaytonaMills) February 28, 2018
The very last thing that lady said in the video was "to help more positive marketing towards healthier foods" but you choose to go the route of "You OBESE? You're going to DIE" ... nice one.— Book of Eleanor (@Book_Of_Eleanor) March 1, 2018
obesity is not a scientifically proven cause of cancer. it is scientifically proven to correlate with some cancers. anyone who’s had one statistics class knows that it is extremely bad practice and simply wrong to draw out cause and effect from correlation. https://t.co/2iaFC35RQS— sarah (@sarahgillborn) March 1, 2018
thin people can eat a whole pizza and everyone will be like "lol big mood!" while fat people simply have to wake up for people to say "but obesity causes cancer tho"— S. Qiouyi Lu 🌱 陸秋逸 🌸✨ yr fav agave auntie (@sqiouyilu) March 1, 2018
There are also lots of horrible tweets attacking Hagen that I won't link to, but mainly expressing the idea that the statements from the Cancer Research UK team are simply irrefutable facts that can't be argued with.
However, they themselves state that one of the main goals of their campaign are to change government support for healthy food initiatives. So, why not a commercial about food subsidies? Or the evils of fast food corporations? Or against poverty and lack of access to fresh food? There are a lot of ways to go when campaigning for health, and attacking people personally only draws a line that justifies abuse in the minds of horrible people.
It's also a pretty rude way to approach someone on the street! If you come at me with a pack of fake cigarettes and a camera, expect me not to be happy.