'Cruel and humiliating': Bad Feminist author Roxane Gay calls out treatment by Mamamia website

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The acclaimed feminist author took to Twitter in response to a podcast and its description which she says was "cruel and humiliating".

Acclaimed feminist author Roxane Gay who recently visited New Zealand has called out her "cruel and humiliating" treatment in Australia by Mia Freedman and her women's website Mamamia.

Gay, the author of Bad Feminist, made the comments after a podcast recorded when she was in Sydney last month was released on Sunday.

The podcast in which Gay discusses her new memoir Hunger – about her challenges with size and a culture that demeans and refuses to accommodate fat people – was introduced by Freedman who aired sensitive claims about how the author was accommodated. 

Australian journalist Mia Freedman's Mamamia podcast has come under fire.
DAMIAN BENNETT

Australian journalist Mia Freedman's Mamamia podcast has come under fire.

"A lot of planning has to go into a visit from best-selling author, college professor and writer, Roxane Gay," the podcast intro reads.

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"Will she fit into the office lift? How many steps will she have to take to get to the interview? Is there a comfortable chair that will accommodate her six-foot-three, 'super-morbidly-obese' frame?"

Roxane Gay described the Mamamia podcast as "a sh.t show".
PAT SCALA

Roxane Gay described the Mamamia podcast as "a sh.t show".

In an accompanying article entitled  "Why, for the first time, I have no photo from my interview with Roxane Gay," and which has since been removed from the Mamamia website, Freedman revealed "there were more than a dozen exchanges back and forth between my producer and her people and the details of them both broke my heart and opened my eyes."

Freedman then detailed this information, including requests for information about the lifts, stairs and chairs that the author would be seated in. 

"I would never normally breach the confidence of what goes on behind the scenes while organising an interview but in this case, it's a fundamental part of her story and what her book is about," Freedman wrote. 

"You see, Roxane Gay is……I'm searching for the right word to use here. I don't want to say fat so I'm going to use the official medical term: super morbidly obese."

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In a series of tweets, Gay slammed the use of this information and language to introduce the podcast. "I am appalled by Mamamia," she wrote. "It was a s... show. I can walk a f...ing mile."

Gay also maintained that she never asked about lifts and only requested a sturdy chair. 

"It is cruel and humiliating," she added in response to a comment from Ijeoma Oluo, editor of The Establishment, who wrote: "This is not how you talk about another human being, especially your own guest. Nobody should have to tell @mamamia that this isn't OK."

After being contacted for comment, Gay said "I've said what I need to say. This situation is disgusting and shameful and frankly it speaks for itself."

Twitter has gone into meltdown over the comments by Freedman, who was appointed chair of the National Body Image Advisory Group in 2009.

Mia Freedman is a journalist and was the youngest ever editor of the Australian edition of Cosmopolitan magazine in 1996, aged 24.

 

 - Sydney Morning Herald

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