New York makes ‘body-shaming’ illegal

Lazy eyes listen


On Friday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams signed legislation barring discrimination based on a person’s height or weight in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Critics of the contentious measure claim it will open the floodgates to a deluge of litigation.

“I’m a person who believes in health, so when you talk about not discriminating against someone because of their body type, that’s not fighting obesity; it’s just being fair,” Adams said of the bill in remarks on Friday.

He went on to say that he thought prohibiting this form of discrimination was “the right thing to do,” and that “science has shown that body type is not a connection to whether you’re healthy or unhealthy, and I think that’s a misnomer that we’re really dispelling.”

New York’s Commission on Human Rights will be entrusted with reviewing complaints filed in the aftermath of the legislation’s passage, in addition to overseeing potential discrimination in areas such as race, gender, age, and sexual orientation.

The approval of the law in New York comes as lawmakers in New Jersey and Massachusetts debate similar legislation to combat weight discrimination. It is already illegal in Michigan and Washington.

However, critics warn the bill might spark a legal tempest in New York. According to the New York Times, “I’m overweight, but I’m not a victim,” declared Republican New York City Council minority leader Joseph Borelli last month. “No one should feel sorry for me except my clumsy shirt buttons.”

Borelli also stated that the measure might allow people to “sue anyone and everything.” In an editorial earlier this month, the New York Post said it was a “fat gift to NYC’s bottom-feeding legal sharks.”

Obesity is becoming more of an issue in the United States. Obesity prevalence climbed from 30% to over 42% of the total population in the 20 years preceding March 2020, according to data provided by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to a CDC research conducted in 2021, 9.2% of Americans are classified as “severely obese.”