Celebrities Respond to Bill Maher's Call to 'Fat-Shame,' James Corden Praised for Scathing Rebuke

Celebrities and media figures weighed in after James Corden slammed fellow late-night TV host Bill Maher over a "fat-shaming" segment in which Maher said overweight Americans should be criticized and not simply accepted.

The host of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher mocked what he labeled as America's applauding of overweight and obese people, saying healthy people "should be pointing out that being fat is unhealthy" in an episode aired September 6. Corden responded on The Late Late Show Friday night by detailing his own struggles with weight loss and criticized Maher for saying "fat-shaming needs to make a comeback."

Dozens of Hollywood celebrities and TV personalities applauded Corden's rebuke of Maher's regressive call to fat-shame, with The View co-host Meghan McCain thanking Corden for responding to a Maher in a comical yet stern rebuttal. Corden kept the segment light by comparing past pitfalls between the TV hosts' respective careers while also ribbing Maher for his perceived elitist attitudes.

"We know that being overweight isn't good for us," Corden said in response to Maher. "I've struggled my entire life trying to manage my weight and I suck at it. I've had good days...and bad months. I've basically been off and on diets since as long as I can remember and, well, this is how it's going. But here's the thing: We're not all as lucky as Bill Maher. We don't all have a sense of superiority that burns 35,000 calories a day."

Corden acknowledged that Maher's highlighting of America's obesity problem is commendable, but qualified his praise by noting that Maher offered his insight in a destructive, critical manner.

"Bill, I sincerely believe that what you think you're offering here is tough love...but the truth is you're working against your own cause," Corden continued, "It's proven that fat-shaming only does one thing: It makes people feel ashamed. And shame leads to depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior—self-destructive behavior like overeating."

In his original monologue, Maher had argued, "We have gone to this weird place where fat is good, it's pointing out that being fat is unhealthy, that's what's bad! Fat-shaming doesn't need to end, it needs to make a comeback," he said to a mixed bag of in-studio reactions.

Corden's response to Maher was applauded by a wide range of celebrities, actors and journalists.

"Drop everything you're doing and watch this. @JKCorden, I didn't think it was possible to be more proud of you, but you just did it," tweeted New York Magazine's Yashar Ali, a journalist prominent on social media.

"As someone who has been fat shammed [sic] pretty much since puberty and is told on a daily hourly basis by the internet I need to lose weight/diet. I am so grateful for @JKCorden's message here. Also so much of the obesity epidemic is about poverty and access to health care," Meghan McCain tweeted Saturday morning.

"How I adore you, James Corden," replied Lea Salonga, relaying her personal story of struggling with her weight.

"Somebody needs to say something about this, if only there was someone with a platform who knew what it was actually like to be overweight and then I realized, 'Ah that would be me,'" Corden said on his Friday show, adding:

"While you're encouraging people to think about what goes into their mouths, just think a little harder about what comes out of yours."

james corden bill maher fat-shaming
Celebrities and media figures weighed in after James Corden ridiculed fellow late-night TV host Bill Maher over a "fat-shaming" segment in which Maher said overweight Americans should be criticized and not simply accepted. Matt Winkelmeyer/VF19/Contributor/Getty Images
Celebrities Respond to Bill Maher's Call to 'Fat-Shame,' James Corden Praised for Scathing Rebuke | U.S.