Brouhaha After Website Wonders if Roxane Gay Will 'Fit in the Lift'

Mamamia website, founder have since apologized to the author
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2017 3:14 PM CDT
Brouhaha After Website Wonders if Roxane Gay Will 'Fit in the Lift'
This book cover image released by Harper shows "Hunger," a memoir by Roxane Gay.   (Harper via AP)

Best-selling author Roxane Gay gave a podcast interview to Australian website Mamamia that went well enough, but the aftermath of the sit-down has not been so amicable. The description for the podcast, which focused on Gay's new memoir Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, mentioned Gay's "super-morbidly obese" frame and wondered whether she would "fit into the office lift" and whether there would be "a comfortable chair that will accommodate her," among other things. Mamamia founder Mia Freedman also published an article on the website, since removed but available via archive, detailing the steps she says needed to be taken to accommodate Gay, whose size, per Freedman, can be a "logistical nightmare" for the author. Gay responded with outrage, tweeting Monday that her treatment by the website was "cruel and humiliating."

"'Can she fit into the lift?' Shame on you," Gay tweeted. The criticism continued throughout the week; she added in a tweet Tuesday, for example, that "I have never once in my life worried about fitting into an elevator nor have I made such a request." She gave a statement to the New York Times Tuesday mentioning that at least now the world can see "what fat-phobia looks like." On Wednesday, Freedman apologized in a statement on her website, noting, "I am beyond mortified, horrified and ashamed that I could have, in any way contributed to Roxane Gay feeling anything other than fierce, brilliant and beautiful." Mamamia also issued an official statement explaining that the podcast intro and description had been updated after Gay's complaints, but also pointing out that "many requests" were made by Gay's publishers related to "logistics." (Read more Roxane Gay stories.)

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