‘Feeling Fat and Lazy?': Times Square Billboard Sparks Controversy Over Fat Shaming

NBC Universal, Inc.

There are plenty of eye-catching and attention-grabbing things to see in Times Square, but one billboard is getting notoriety for the wrong reasons.

A three-story ad sits at West 48th Street and Seventh Avenue, reading "Feeling Fat and Lazy?" over an image of a woman sitting with her head in her hands. It's not hard to see (literally) why the billboard has gone viral, as critics blast it for fat-shaming.

Actres Jameela Jamil this week shared a photo of the ad on Instagram with the caption "Why tho?!"

The woman behind the controversial billboard is online wellness coach Deborah Capaccio, who said she's gotten "mixed" reviews of her ad. But she also said she expected backlash. Capaccio is promoting her business that is aimed at helping women lose weight, a program she said focuses first on the mind, then the body second.

"I used those words specifically because I interviewed hundreds and hundreds of women last year, I specifically asked them, 'What are the names that you privately call yourself?', Capaccio told NBC New York. "Fat and lazy by far were the most common,"

The billboard cost her $13,000 to have up for four weeks, and is set to be taken down in the coming days. But Capaccio said she welcomes the controversy.

"Of course there are people who have lashed out, but the beautiful things is, I am here for that backlash if it helps even one more woman," she said.

Reactions to the billboard were mixed on Thursday. One woman, Emily Strickland, mouthed the words as she came across it, and said she was not a fan.

"I'm really big on body positivity ... I would use my words more carefully if I were putting them on a billboard for lots of people," Strickland said.

Others said they were not offended, but still said it was upsetting. As for Capaccio, she said she has no regrets about putting it up.

"I really don't. I don't believe it's shaming at all," she said.

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