'I'm Fat-Splaining,' Bill Maher Rants on Reality of Obesity, COVID Deaths

Television host Bill Maher says that American media outlets have "blood on their hands" for failing to report on COVID-19 deaths that are linked to obesity.

Maher, the host of HBO's political talk show Real Time With Bill Maher, has been a consistent critic of the media's reporting on obesity as the COVID-19 pandemic rampaged through the U.S. In a Sunday appearance on a conservative platform, Maher said he was "not fat-shaming" but "fat-splaining" about the country's obesity problem.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that "obesity puts people at risk for many other serious chronic diseases and increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19." The CDC has also claimed that obese people may be at triple the risk of hospitalization if they contract the virus.

Maher said that he feels the link between obesity and COVID has not been well-documented by the media. Despite being associated with mostly liberal viewpoints, Maher appeared on conservative podcast The Ben Shapiro Show, where he said in regards to his criticism: "I'm not fat-shaming, I'm fat-splaining."

"Seventy-eight percent of the people who died or were hospitalized were obese, and that's another one that's not a popular opinion to talk about," Maher said to the show's host, Ben Shapiro. "If you just said to somebody, okay, there's an X-factor in this, of 78 percent of the people who get [COVID]...die or go to the hospital, wouldn't you be a little curious if you're a news organization? Wouldn't you be talking about that fact all the time?"

Bill Maher
Liberal television host Bill Maher has called out the media for their reporting on COVID-19, saying that he does not believe that the news has contributed enough to reporting on COVID-19's link with obesity. The commentator made the comments during a recent appearance on a conservative platform. Here, Maher can be seen in a screen grab from his show, 'Real Time With Bill Maher.' HBO

Maher continued by calling obesity in the U.S. "the ultimate third-rail."

"The real epidemic is obesity, and that we don't talk about," Maher said. "We are at a different place with [obesity] than we were even five years ago. Five years ago, it at least was thought to be a good thing to try to lose weight, right? Now, that's what they shame...when you're the bad person because you lost weight, and it's just seen as a different way of living. There's no judgment to it."

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, absolutely, but science is not," the Real Time host said. "Science is not, and those facts are unforgiving when you look at the number of people who died [from COVID]. And you didn't have to be that much overweight to have a much worse outcome, having to go to the hospital, having to get ventilated. I think 40 percent of the people who died had diabetes."

"And again, even take COVID out of the picture. I was talking about this before COVID," Maher said. "Again, I'm not shaming people, I'm just saying, we were never going to solve the health care crisis in this country until we get our arms around [obesity]."

"Anyone in the media who doesn't talk about this because you're so afraid of the reaction, you have blood on your hands," Maher said. "Because you're not doing these people a favor."

While Maher has become well known in the media landscape for his outspoken liberal viewpoints, some have noted that he has started to become more critical of both parties in recent years. This includes criticizing both Republicans and Democrats for their reactions to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Despite maintaining his liberal perspective, Maher has admitted that the Democratic party has shifted from what he views as a favorable platform. "My politics hasn't changed, they've changed," Maher previously said of his party.

Even with this statement, though, Maher has also continued to lambast Republicans on his show on an almost weekly basis.

Newsweek has reached out to Maher's agent for comment.