Jonah Hill Claps Back At Media Body-Shamers

The actor confronted "The Daily Mail" via Instagram.


“The Daily Mail’s” attempts to body-shame Jonah Hill were called out on Friday on the star’s Instagram page. He addressed the “public mockery” he has faced in the media throughout his years in the spotlight, and his growth into self-acceptance. 

The article in question featured a picture of Jonah surfing in a wetsuit and then later him shirtless with the headline, “Jonah Hill slips into his black wetsuit for surf day in Malibu… before showing off his tattoos while going shirtless to towel himself off.” Jonah posted a screenshot of the headline and the accompanying photos with a caption that exulted his personal sense of self-acceptance and rejected the media’s criticism of his body and weight.


A post shared by Jonah Hill (@jonahhill)

He said in the caption: “I don’t think I ever took my shirt off in a pool until I was in my mid-thirties even in front of family and friends. Probably would have happened sooner if my childhood insecurities weren’t exacerbated by years of public mockery about my body by press and interviewers. So the idea that the media tries to play me by stalking me while surfing and printing photos like this and it can’t phase me anymore is dope. I’m 37 and finally love and accept myself. This isn’t a ‘good for me’ post. And it’s definitely not a ‘feel bad for me post’. It’s for the the kids who don’t take their shirt off at the pool. Have fun. You’re wonderful and awesome and perfect. All my love.”

The post— which now has over 1.2 million likes— has received thousands of supportive messages from fans and industry professionals alike. Celebrities such as Judd Apatow commented their similar experiences and their own appreciation of Jonah’s defiant sentiment saying, “When I take my shirt off at the beach it looks like I am still wearing a shirt...or sweater. Now I will show it off with pride!” Others, such as actress Rashida Jones, also showed their support for the post simply commenting, “King energy🔥.” Jonah’s sister, “Booksmart” star, Beanie Feldstein, noted her appreciation for her older brother saying, “you’re the best in the world i love you.”  


A post shared by Jonah Hill (@jonahhill)

In a November 2020 GQ interview about his collection with Adidas, Jonah talked about how his acting career, and the industry’s public criticism of his weight, had impacted his relationship with his personal style. When asked whether he felt his relationship with fashion was permitted through standards upheld by media criticism, he said, “I think I was conditioned for that based on my acting career. Because, (A) being overweight and (B) comedy, you're not supposed to be into fashion on either of those sides.”
However, also in the interview, Jonah noted how he grew to reject the media’s exclusion of him from the fashion conversation—an exclusion based purely on the tabloid’s judgement of his weight and his early comedic acting career. He said, “I think the biggest shift in my personal style was that I always had an interest in personal style and fashion, but I was always a bigger guy. It’s really hard when you're overweight to dress a certain way, because clothes aren't made for people who are overweight to have style. So, I think it surprises people. Even now, I'll overhear someone discussing my place in the fashion world or whatever, and people are like, That guy? The schlubby guy from Superbad?”

Jonah noted in the interview that his rejection of these media judgements and standards allowed him to realize his love for clothes, style and fashion. “The idea was realizing, whether I was big or small, that I really can define my own personal style. I think that's a dope wave that's happening right now in culture, too. But for me, that was a big turning point of realizing: okay, be yourself. You don't have to be anything you don't want to be. And if you're really interested in fashion then you should be, don't push that away. Lean into it,” he said. 

Jonah’s messages of self-appreciation come at a time when the media’s treatment of those in the spotlight is under intense scrutiny. The documentary, “Framing Britney Spears,” directly examines the impact that the media had on not only Britney Spear’s public image, but also on her mental and physical health. Similarly, past interviews and damaging headlines about other stars such as, Jessica Simpson, Janet Jackson and Lindsay Lohan, are being re-examined in the context of media bullying, with many questioning the social responsibility that the tabloid media should have in their treatment of celebrities. 

Jonah’s defiant post of self-love, self-acceptance and body-positivity acts as a direct counter to "The Daily Mail’s” attempts at body-shaming, and shows a rejection of the industry’s relentless, aggressive and damaging criticism of bodies that don’t conform to their projection of ‘perfection’. 

As his Insta caption concluded: “Oh and Daily Mail, not even you can take that smile from my face ;).” 


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