Demi Lovato once sang that she’s “cool for the summer,” but over the weekend she proved her summer likely wouldn’t involve any cool treats from a Los Angeles frozen yogurt chain called The Bigg Chill. And that’s because a certain menu item at The Bigg Chill had gotten Demi all fired up (okay, I’ll stop with the temperature references). Demi, a person who has lived with an eating disorder for many years, was very triggered when she entered The Bigg Chill and saw several “diet foods,” like sugar-free or high-protein cookies. So she channeled her inner Karen and publicly called them out on Instagram for all her 102 million followers, and started trending the hashtag #DietCultureVultures.
Not too long after, a whole bunch of people reminded Demi of the existence of dietary restrictions, like diabetes or celiac disease, and that those foods exist for people who need them. Demi has heard everyone’s criticisms of her rant against The Bigg Chill, and she’s offered up an apology.
Of course, while some were accusing Demi of going full “Let me speak to your manager,” others, like Jameela Jamil, came to Demi’s defense. Jameela argued that if Demi, a woman who struggles with an eating disorder, says that a food looks like a product of diet culture, then maybe we should listen to her. But, Demi’s advocacy for the ED community got a little murky, like in one such instance, where Demi appeared to have accused The Bigg Chill of pushing diet culture with specific “guilt-free” cookies, which The Bigg Chill claimed they hadn’t sold in years. So generally, Demi was trying to speak her truth, but it got messier than an XL froyo melting in a hot car:
the gag is she didn’t even see those “guilt free” cookies everyone keeps talking abt she literally saw lenny and larry protein cookies and got all heated over nothing pic.twitter.com/ohnF8DjfYq
— sara // tfatws ep 5 spoilers 💛💛 (@valyrianswift) April 20, 2021
Generally, it wasn’t a great look to be fighting with a small business that just wants to sling frozen yogurt. So Demi apologized, which really isn’t anything new for her, since misguided choices-turned-PR nightmares is a well-established part of her brand at this point. And according to Demi, the only reason she went after The Bigg Chill is because she’s “passionate” about killing diet culture. via Page Six:
She apologized for anyone offended by her message, which she said had been “misconstrued.” Admitting that she “didn’t lift the froyo place up” “from a place of love,” Lovato said, “I’m genuinely sorry that people took it the wrong way. I just get really passionate.”
“When I messaged this froyo place, originally I wanted to make a point, and I wanted to call out behaviors or branding things that didn’t sit right with me. As someone who deals with an eating disorder and is in recovery from an eating disorder, I still to this day have a hard time walking into a froyo shop, ordering yogurt and being content with it and keeping it down.”
Lovato admits that she came to the wrong conclusion about The Bigg Chill’s marketing and labeling certain items for people, for example, with celiac disease. “I didn’t know that, because it wasn’t clear, I definitely jumped to conclusions and probably shouldn’t have gone about this the way that I have, but I’m willing to talk to this froyo shop to help get the messaging right.”
The Bigg Chill had no additional comment, like if they’d be collaborating with Demi on diet culture solutions in the future.
Demi added that all she really wants out of all of this is for people with eating disorders or damaged relationships with food to just be able to go into a place to eat and feel safe. The Cheesecake Factory’s SkinnyLicious® menu just started nervously sweating, terrified it will soon be called into the manager’s office and told to pack its things. And I’m sure Demi is feeling a little embarrassed today about cyberbullying a small frozen yogurt franchise, but someone’s got to be happy about this mess, and it’s the forever “broken” ice cream machine at McDonald’s. For one brief moment, it was no longer the most visible target of frozen dessert-based hate.