On Friday's Megyn Kelly Today, host Megyn Kelly responded to the backlash she received on Twitter after saying some women want to be "fat-shamed" to motivate themselves to lose weight. reports that Kelly was interviewing "fit mom" Maria Kang, who went viral in 2013 for sharing a photo of herself surrounded by her children, with the caption, "What's Your Excuse?" The photo was met with criticism then because it was seen as shaming mothers who don't look as physically fit as Kang does.
Kang to talk about how she's evolved her message over the years. She has recreated her viral photo, this time with the caption, "What's Your Reason?" Instead of saying kids are an excuse to not get in shape, she now says they're the reason she maintains a healthy lifestyle. "I haven't changed my tune, I've just grown up a whole lot," she wrote on Instagram.
This time, it was Kelly who was the target of controversy after she mentioned so-called "shaming" helped her to lose weight. "You should parlay the whole shaming thing into a professional business, because some of us want to be shamed," she said. "When I was in law school and I was gaining weight, I said to my stepfather, 'If you see me going into that kitchen one more time, you say, Where are you going, fatass?' And it works!"
Kelly clearly didn't mean to be completely serious by the comment, but the message was mainly that sometimes "shaming" can be used as a positive tool to motivate people, if it's the subject's idea. And Kang agreed, saying that she tells her husband her fitness goals and then he calls her out when he sees her do things like eat junk food. "See, if my husband did that, there would be retribution later," Kelly joked in response.
But critics still took Kelly to task online, saying fat-shaming is never a joke and the vast majority of women never want to hear comments maligning their appearance. "The idea that shame is a motivator for healthy behavior is not one that is backed up by research or by anyone in our community," Claire Mysko, CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association, told .
Kelly responded to the criticism on Friday's show. "Close to forty percent of Americans are obese. They need support, they need kindness and one thing they definitely do not need is to be body-shamed," she said. "The pressure to be thin is ubiquitous in America, and those who are not can face heartbreaking cruelty. I do not endorse this reality. The truth is, I loathe it."
Kelly opened up about she and her family members were fat-shamed growing up, and how the backlash got her thinking about why she would have encouraged her own fat-shaming when she was in law school. "What I know for sure is that weight is an issue for millions of people, thin and heavy alike," she said. "And neither deserves to be judged or shamed for how they choose to handle that struggle."