Samantha Armytage Calls Out Press For “Trying To Bully Me Into An Eating Disorder,” Drama Ensues

Yesterday, the Daily Telegraph published an article about Australian morning television host Samantha Armytage. The article tried to frame itself as being about her struggling new makeover show, “Bringing Sexy Back,” but it really served as an aggressive personal attack on Armytage’s body. It included a slew of dated, unflattering paparazzi photos, with captions like “comfy womfy,” criticizing her off-duty clothing choices. In actuality, the photo spread doesn’t seem to be about the clothes so much as it’s about exploiting the least flattering angles the publication could find of Armytage and bashing her body.

This morning on Australian morning show “Sunrise,” Armytage boldly addressed the article:

“I have never said I am a model, I have never pretended I was skinny. I do the best I can with what I’ve got and I work really hard at it because I have to…I’m sure a lot of women out there will agree with that because a lot of women probably have the same shape as me. I don’t understand this shaming. I don’t know whether it’s trying to bully me into an eating disorder. It’s cowardly and mean.”

It makes me pretty sad that she has to defend her body and point out that she never took on the attitude of “being skinny,” as it if thinness warrants a whole different personality. That statement gives off this sad, untrue idea that women who are not a size 0 have to apologize for existing and recognize their supposed inferiority before they’re allowed to go on acting confident and breathing the same air as the models. Unfortunately for Armytage, she was cornered into defending herself by that shitty article. She seems like a woman who would normally never even think to publicly justify her (perfectly lovely) looks or imply that she is somehow inferior for being the size that she is.

After she made her statement, supporters came out of the woodwork on social media, praising Armytage and condemning the Telegraph for its ridiculousness. There was initially some confusion over whether the article had a byline, but the writer was revealed to be a woman named Annette Sharp, and she was soon the subject of social media criticism from every direction. When the pressure on her began mounting, Sharp resorted to the cheapest trick in the book — gaslighting. She took to Twitter to call Armytage “hysterical.”

Ugh. Luckily, the internet rallied behind Armytage. Journalist Sharri Markson revealed a leaked Telegraph internal email that shows editors pointedly searching for pictures that made Armytage look “scruffy,” proving that the whole point of the piece was to make her look awful. So there you have it, friends. It’s 2014 and we as a society still haven’t gotten bored of calling women fat or crazy to shut them down when they become successful or seem like a threat. Not too encouraging, is it? At least in this case, people refused to accept it and jumped to Armytage’s defense. Now, if only bullying like this never happened in the first place.

[Guardian UK]
[The Australian]
[BuzzFeed]
[Telegraph UK]