Unbelievable… or maybe not

31st January 2008

Unbelievable… or maybe not

Years of infamy

As reported by Sandy at the blog JunkFoodScience:

It has actually happened. Lawmakers have proposed legislation that forbids restaurants and food establishments from serving food to anyone who is obese (as defined by the State). Under this bill, food establishments are to be monitored for compliance under the State Department of Health and violators will have their business permits revoked.

House Bill 282 was introduced in the 2008 Mississippi legislative session on Friday by Representative W.T. Mayhall, Jr., a retired pharmaceutical salesman with DuPont-Merk. Its co-authors are Bobby Shows, a businessman, and John Read, a pharmacist.

Sandy called Rep. Mayhall to see if this was serious or sensationalist. He assured her that, while he doesn’t think the bill will pass (Duh, you think?), he is completely serious. I’m really quite speechless.

For all of you who doubt fat is one of the last acceptable forms of discrimination, what say you now?

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There are currently 85 responses to “Unbelievable… or maybe not”

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  1. 1 On January 31st, 2008, Tari said:

    “Unbelievable” is exactly what came out of my mouth.

    Well, I may have added an f-word. Or two.

  2. 2 On January 31st, 2008, Lindsay said:

    I think the phrase “You’ve got to be fucking shitting me” was what most readily comes to mind.

  3. 3 On January 31st, 2008, TOWR said:

    Can you say unconstitutional?

    I’ve been saying that fat discrimination is the last accepted form of discrimination for YEARS. Here’s the solid proof.

  4. 4 On January 31st, 2008, Becky said:

    I seriously felt sick to my stomach when I read that. I just… I have no words.

  5. 5 On January 31st, 2008, Jill said:

    Imagine the sit-ins that would result if this were passed! Restaurants full of fat folk! Wonderful!

  6. 6 On January 31st, 2008, Ducky said:


    This makes me so angry that I almost can’t see straight.

  7. 7 On January 31st, 2008, Meowser said:

    Of course it won’t pass. Restaurants are a powerful lobby; I can’t imagine in a million years they would actually want to limit their potential customer base by a third other than a very few individual E-ticket joints that are mondo snotty. And can you imagine some little barbecue takeout truck telling people to step on the scale before they can place an order? What’s next, are thin people who procure takeout food for us fatties going to the hoosegow too?

    But just the idea that someone thought this was a good idea…unbelievable. Truly jawdropping.

    I have one question for Rep. Mayhall. Are Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Cruise, and 90% of the NFL to be included in the ban also?

  8. 8 On January 31st, 2008, notblueatall said:

    Woah! Yet another way for us to feel like 4th class citizens! Seriously?! I do hope this is some sort of joke…I will go postal if this comes even close to passing/enforcing…oh gawd! Can you imagine? Having to send in a lower BMI friend to buy lunch for the two of you? Would that even be allowed? What about when I was an admin and had to buy everyone’s lunch? I wouldn’t even be let into a restaurant! The insanity!

  9. 9 On January 31st, 2008, Alexandra Erin said:

    Wow. And just yesterday I phrased an argument to somebody by saying, “Do you really think that fat people were banned from eating fast food, they’d all become thin?”

  10. 10 On January 31st, 2008, Becky said:

    You know what’s really horrifying about this? It’s not just fast food restaurants. It’s all restaurants. They don’t just want us to “get healthy”, they really do want us all to starve. I mean, not that it would be even remotely okay if it was just fast food restaurants, but… *sigh*, now I’m speechless and incoherent again.

  11. 11 On January 31st, 2008, Nicole said:

    Horrifying. Truly horrifying.

  12. 12 On January 31st, 2008, Arwen said:

    There’d be only one upside to this: it would act sort of like Kate’s BMI project… There’d be “banned” people that would be a shock to their friends and family.

  13. 13 On January 31st, 2008, Arwen said:

    (( Which is not to say this is anything but disgusting. ))

  14. 14 On January 31st, 2008, JoGeek said:

    You pointed out that all the sponsors are somehow tied to the pharmaceutical industry…think they still own stock?

    Coincidence? maybe not….

  15. 15 On January 31st, 2008, Fillyjonk said:

    I bet Alexandra’s kicking herself that she didn’t come up with this first.

    There’d be “banned” people that would be a shock to their friends and family.

    Unfortunately, I’m betting it would work more like Southwest’s “buy an extra seat you big fat hoggie” program — since they probably wouldn’t weigh everyone as they came into the restaurant, it would come down to whether the servers thought you were too fat or not.

  16. 16 On January 31st, 2008, Liz said:

    I have no words for how disgusting this proposition is. Seriously, he thinks fat people shouldn’t be allowed to EAT? At all? And obesity is a medical diagnosis (and arbitrary, in my opinion). Can people really discriminate based on a medical diagnosis? Also, it blows my mind that this could even be proposed. It would never be enforceable, even if passed. Most restaurants won’t turn people away, not only because they need the business, but because they aren’t going to treat another person that way. Eating is a very social activity, and excluding people is just mean and wrong.

    Mississippi has one of the highest obesity rates in the country, so I am sure this bill is in response to that. But I think there are other ways of dealing with the health of your citizens than, say, STARVING them.

  17. 17 On January 31st, 2008, JoGeek said:

    Here’s my real question…does Representative John Read, the co-author of this bill, somehow believe that he would be exempt from the regulation, or is he just willing to step on a scale every time he goes into a restaurant to prove he’s just under the line of “obese”? I know you really, really can’t tell how much someone weights from a photo, but I can’t imagine someone of his build not getting refused service by the rules of his own proposed police-state. Here’s a photo:

    Is this just self-loathing manifested? Could some informational brochures help him get an FA perspective?

  18. 18 On January 31st, 2008, warmarkwoman said:

    Dumb ass. Why are grocery and convenience stores not included in this bill? I can get calorie bombs from the Piggly Wiggly and Winn-Dixie, too.

  19. 19 On January 31st, 2008, Kat said:

    Who is going to be given the wonderful job of eyeballing folks as they come through the restaurant door? I know MeMe Roth is already raising her hand excitiedly saying, “Oh! Oh!Pick me! Pick me!I wanna do it! Me! Me!” Or is expulsion going to get technical?

    I am morbidly obese but only look obese. Are restaurants going to become responsible for weighing us, measuring our height, asking our age and calculating our BMI before we can take a seat and hold a hallowed menu in our chubby little hands?

    Or is our restaurant experience going to be determined by an eyeballing it method? We will all quickly identify a restaurant’s good eyeball and bad eyeball fat bouncer. As in, “Hey Mo, go to Shoney’s on Tuesday. Old bad eye Joe is scheduled to work and we can get in.”

    They won’t be able to keep us away from the food bars. We are fat but we are crafty.

    here is only one MeMe roth.

  20. 20 On January 31st, 2008, Kat said:

    Please pardon my typos!! I typed in excited haste due to my intense anger.

    That last line is supposed to be…And there is only one MeMe Roth.

  21. 21 On January 31st, 2008, red_delicious said:

    How sickeningly amazing! I can’t believe someone, who is obviously overweight to begin with, would co-write something so horribly anti-fat! Fat’s not a civil rights issue? My fat ass it isn’t!

  22. 22 On January 31st, 2008, HeatherRadish said:

    I’m pretty sure being told I’m too fat to order a salad at a nice sit-down restaurant will just send me to the nearest grocery store with a bakery (unless “food establishments” is weasel for “fatties shouldn’t even be allowed to buy groceries”) for a little comfort.

    I’m also pretty sure I’m not the only one.

    This so obviously isn’t meant to HELP anyone (and even if it was, it would still be wrong), it’s meant to keep us from spoiling the views of assholes.

  23. 23 On January 31st, 2008, Meowser said:

    I assume you can still buy all the booze you want if you’re fat, though, as long as you get it from an ABC store to drink at home. So maybe we should nickname this bill the “You’ll Never Taste Pizza Again But Drinking Yourself Into Blackouts Is Still Fine” bill.

  24. 24 On January 31st, 2008, Elizabeth said:

    The horror isn’t that such a bill might pass–it won’t, and I think that it might even function a little bit the “when the aliens come they’ll eat the fat ones first” billboard that ended up having positive FA results.

    But there is still horror. It’s beyond sickening that anyone would even dare to TRY to pass a law like this, or think that such a law would be anything but an abomination.

  25. 25 On January 31st, 2008, littlem said:

    “Dumb ass. Why are grocery and convenience stores not included in this bill? I can get calorie bombs from the Piggly Wiggly and Winn-Dixie, too.”

    Well, especially given what the commenter above you said about the sponsor’s apparent weight, I’m guessing that this is not a set of folks overly celebrated for their critical thinking.

    I feel like I’m saying “I told you so” a lot lately.

    I’m going to stop commenting ’cause otherwise people aren’t going to want to talk to me anymore.

    “First they came for the …”

  26. 26 On January 31st, 2008, Colleen said:

    Public humiliation and discrimination as weight loss motivation. I’m flabbergasted.

    And I’m wondering if the bill would include restaurants that deliver. Will the delivery people carry scales with them, or will an in-home scale be another stipulation for PAYING FOR FOOD?

    People are so cracked.

  27. 27 On January 31st, 2008, Rachel said:

    I think it would be very interesting to see how these two men voted on the farm bill. Did they vote in favor of Big Food or did they vote for more subsidies for fruits and vegetables?

  28. 28 On January 31st, 2008, Elizabeth said:

    Sorry about my typos above. Shaking with fury will do that to you. But my husband had a good point–do they want to ban the fat employees of restaurants, too? I mean, after all, they might eat in the break room or disgust the customers, or something.

  29. 29 On January 31st, 2008, ottermatic said:

    JoGeek beat me to it, but I would emphasize thusly:

    House Bill 282 was introduced in the 2008 Mississippi legislative session on Friday by Representative W.T. Mayhall, Jr., a retired pharmaceutical salesman with DuPont-Merk. Its co-authors are Bobby Shows, a businessman, and John Read, a pharmacist.

  30. 30 On January 31st, 2008, stefanie said:

    1964 Civil Rights Act. It needs to be amended. Now.

    This doesn’t surprise me. When people can think the unthinkable, state the unstateable, all bets are off. It’s very easy to read history from the comfort of one’s armchair (or Herman Miller chair!) and think of all those quaint, unenlightened people who let all this horrible, barbaric stuff happen. Well, welcome to the monkey house. It’s history in the making, and we have an orchestra seat.

  31. 31 On January 31st, 2008, jeninx said:

    This is just so very odd and completly stupefying, and it absolutey sounded to me like it could be a joke at first. How exactly was it proposed to find out a patron’s BMI? Are we going to have them included on our driver’s license or something? Not to mention that the creators of this bill seem to think we fatties are so DESPERATE to stay fat we need law inacted to keep us from doing so. Completely logical; I hear women talk to each other all the time about how awesome big asses and thunder thighs are. Yep, all. the. time.

  32. 32 On January 31st, 2008, Jen said:

    OMFG *jawdrops* This’ll never pass, thank the goddess.

  33. 33 On January 31st, 2008, Carrie said:

    When I first read this on Sandy’s blog, I thought she might be picking up on the lovely THINspeak blog. Only when I realized she had *called for confirmtation* (yay for wicked journalism skillz!) did I believe what I was reading.

    I always said I would hate waitressing- and maybe I still would. But I would move to Mississippi in a heartbeat and waitress in protest serving EVERYONE. Though, uh, you’re on your own for dry cleaning bills when I trip and spill all over you. Just a little heads up.

    I can’t stop shaking my head. This is beyond appalling- this is bigoted and disgusting.

  34. 34 On January 31st, 2008, Kim said:

    When it comes to fat acceptance, I am somewhere in the middle. As a morbidly obese 41 year female, I am pursuing RNY surgery, however, I do not think that anyone has the right to belittle or make anyone else feel bad about who or what they are and I am certainly not a believer in the idea that overweight people or even obese people are not beautiful, intelligent, etc.. Anyway! This bill blows my mind and let’s be realistic. If they are concerned about obesity taking lives, what about the smokers? If you can’t ban people from smoking, then you sure as hell can’t ban them from eating! I think the fact that this ass is even trying sets a whole new standard for prejudice.

  35. 35 On January 31st, 2008, apricotmuffins said:

    please, someone tell me he just has this really twisted, wicked sense of humour and he lied to Sandy about being serious.

    I refuse to believe this to be true, because fuck, how the what the hell the whoosit?

    my brain cant take it. the bigotry is frying it.

  36. 36 On February 1st, 2008, Anna T said:

    Does this guy never eat with people who weigh more than he does? I’d never be able to go out to eat with any of my family and 90% of my friends. Gee, that sounds fun.

    I keep imagining the chubby aunts of all the legislators showing up to beat him with their purses when this pile of crap is presented.

  37. 37 On February 1st, 2008, liz said:

    Tourism is big in Mississippi (5.75 billion annually), and smoking is NOT banned in restaurants statewide.

    I just posted on my mom-o-sphere blog about this.

  38. 38 On February 1st, 2008, O.C. said:

    Mississippi is an impoverished state that’s dependent on tourism dollars, and this is what their legislature is wasting their time on? Fine. I will re-route my yearly drive that has, so far taken me through Mississippi. I will not spend money on gas, hotels, or food in Mississippi (not that they’d apparently sell me food anyway). And if all of the other fat-fat-fatties out there who frequent their riverboat casinos do the same then the state’s economy is screwed.

  39. 39 On February 1st, 2008, The tanning lotion directory said:

    I thought that the white, hetrosexual, protestant male was the last person discriminated against. I guess that we can throw fat people in there too. Unfortunately I fall under all of these.

  40. 40 On February 1st, 2008, FashionableNerd said:

    I refuse to believe this to be true, because fuck, how the what the hell the whoosit?

    Heh. That’s about how I responded before I felt my brain going all asplodey. I can’t find the words to rant about it…the idiocy makes my brain burn.

  41. 41 On February 1st, 2008, Jackie said:

    I don’t really have words for this. It’s like, how many times does this need to happen for us to learn from it, dammit! I don’t think it’s that we’ve forgotten about the civil rights campaign. So what is it, what part of this doesn’t just scream at this mayor “It’s banning Blacks from White Only resturants all over again!”

  42. 42 On February 1st, 2008, Sister Sassy said:

    Wow! That is crazy man…crazy.

  43. 43 On February 1st, 2008, BigLiberty said:

    The scariest part of this isn’t that it was introduced in the first place — we all know there is a lot of hate and ignorance surrounding fat people.

    The scariest part is that this guy wasn’t laughed off his podium. There are others taking this seriously, too…those who have swallowed the Obesity Epidemic Kool-Aid.

    I commented about this on Paul’s blog, and I’m going to also write a post about it on my blog, so I’ll keep this short. But I don’t think I’m extreme in saying this is the first step towards “extermination language.” “What, you’re saying that even though we banned the disgusting fatties from the restaurants, they’re STILL fat? Huh. Maybe we should force them to go to weight loss camp. And, if they gain back the weight, they should be institutionalized. And we should take their children away from them because they’re abusing their children by being fat.”

    …and so forth. Think I’m radical? Wait, just wait. This is not going to be pretty, unless we get together and really fight back. Not just write about it, anymore. We have to get out there. We need to all be Rachels, Kates, Moniques, Joy Nashes, Sandys, etc. Mobilize our clear, truth-backed statements, and start bringing them in an organized fashion to those who make our laws and sway public opinion (i.e., lawmakers and the media).

    This truly, seriously horrifies me. In a visceral way.

  44. 44 On February 1st, 2008, Sarah said:

    It’s a Commerce Clause violation, too.


    I don’t know if this is still true, but I used to drive through MS a lot and at the rest stops they would give you a free Coke. Real Coke.

  45. 45 On February 1st, 2008, BigLiberty said:

    There are so many primary, secondary, tertiary (ad nauseam) consequences of this bill, it would never get passed. Because it’s not going to effect just us fatties, it’s also going to effect those morally upstanding, willpower-possessing, diet-regulating, fat-fearing non-obese citizens, too.

    Just think of the poor girls (and boys) with ED who have to get weighed and have their BMI calculated each time they want to eat at a restaurant … :p

    This is physical abuse, psychological abuse, and sociological abuse which will effect the lives of nearly every citizen, fat or thin or in-between.

  46. 46 On February 1st, 2008, Paul said:

    BigLiberty, the worst part is that all of that is ALREADY HAPPENING in some fashion – save for this morbidly ignorant bill.

    All of the ignorant jerks who troll us, post on Consumerist when there’s a story about OMG FAT PEOPLE TAKE TWO SEATS! and the like need to grow up and realize that this isn’t a small issue. This is a big civil rights issue.

  47. 47 On February 1st, 2008, Mochi Hada said:

    What everybody else said.

    And what if you’re diabetic, and need to eat something STAT? Holy fucking shit.

    I participate on some discussion boards and there’ve been people who proposed weight-loss camps (not sure if he thought they should be mandatory or not) where the fat people have to hike five to fifteen miles for each low-calorie meal they’re allowed. Wow.

    And yes, that politician is a chubster. I think I will go look up his email right now.

  48. 48 On February 1st, 2008, Mochi Hada said:


    Reade was the chubby one; Mayhall is just shrivelled-up and constipated-looking.

  49. 49 On February 1st, 2008, Fairy Berry said:

    I say fuck all of them! This is stupid and there is NO WAY it can last that long (at least I hope)!!

    But who want to live in America now?? I hate this place!

  50. 50 On February 1st, 2008, nighthob said:

    I’m so glad you already posted about this. I just found out about it from a friend’s LiveJournal and immediately came here to post. I should’ve known you’d already have information.

    By the way, look up Mayhall’s background if you get a chance. He’s a former pharmaceutical sales rep who has maintained ties with the pharmaceutical companies since he’s been in office. So he’s creating revenue for his pharma. cronies by ensuring that obese people will want to take drugs in order to skinny-up and be able to eat in public again. Nice, eh?

  51. 51 On February 1st, 2008, hotsauce said:

    Hi, um… I noticed that you didn’t post my comment from earlier today. Not that I thought it was anything really profound that needed to be read by others, but I think you may have deleted me because you thought I was a troll. Perhaps I need to finetune my sarcasm…
    Anyway, let it be known (to you), what I said in my post (in a nutshell, that this law is a fantastic idea) was completely sarcastic. I thought that was obvious but I guess not.
    Carry on : )

    Editor’s Note:

    First-time posters here have to be approved first before their comments are visible. I’m a one-woman show here, and since I work full-time and have somewhat of a life, given I’m in grad school, I can’t always get to the comments right away.

  52. 52 On February 1st, 2008, BigLiberty said:

    After reading that article about the girl who was sent to weight loss camp to “begin her new life” (Rachel blogged about it here: I think it’s safe to say that government-sponsored weight-loss concentration camps are not too far in the future for children who go to public school.

    Especially after the anti-junk food, more-exercise, lock-ins during lunch, and other initiatives fail to show any decrease in average BMI.

    I don’t want to be there when these parents get desperate, scared like hell that their kid’s going to die at 45 of massive heart failure or crippling diabetes because they didn’t ‘work hard enough’ to make their child ‘eat less and move more.’ That desperation will be reflected in the laws we start seeing passed — first on the local level by these maniacal, ignorant, desperate, scared parents (hmm, no cupcakes in school, anyone?), extending eventually to the state level, and then the national level.

    And there isn’t any one party that’s backing the freedom of fat people. So-called conservatives, though they’re supposed to be socially libertarian, want to get re-elected and therefore will stigmatize fat to win votes. So-called progressives believe social change should be enacted through laws and regulations for the “good” of the people.

    I think the only party that can really speak for fat people is the libertarian party. Or perhaps our own party with a libertarian, freedom-loving, my-body-is-my-business mentality.

    Regardless, it’s important to understand that this isn’t an “evil Republican” or “hippy-dippy pinko liberal” thing. This is about ignorance, hate, and scapegoatism. It crosses party lines. People, if they hate you enough, will find some way that their own adopted moral value set reinforces that hate. Any group we get together will have to first being combating that hate at its source, and second making its political presence known.

  53. 53 On February 1st, 2008, Lindsay said:

    Of course he would be able to dine out. He’s a politician who is seeking to create that law, so naturally he is above it.

    and oddly, this stoked the feminism fire within me, even though I know it’s not directed solely at women.

  54. 54 On February 1st, 2008, Sherie Sanders said:

    RELAX people! JoeGeek called it right! Do you think it is any coincidence that thesed dorky good old boys have pharma connections? Do you know how many health related controversies Du Pont has been associated with? This is obviously another marketing ploy to scare people. But, it is so ridiculous that we can use it to our advantage. The average person on the street will think this see the absurdity. Plus, they are targeting people with BMIs or 30 or over. That is barely plump!!!!!! It will outrage many We can capture this momentium if we play our cards right! Another good idea might be to somehow do outreach to their constituency to make sure they don’t get reelected. And send a message to pharma we aren’t going to take their B.S. anymore!
    “Fat can be beautiful! Intolerance is ALWAYS ugly!”

  55. 55 On February 1st, 2008, Amy P. said:

    You know what’s really horrifying about this? It’s not just fast food restaurants. It’s all restaurants.

    No – the wording of the bill is “food establishments”, which could easily be interpreted to mean anything from McDonalds to your local grocer.

    Which means you’d have to get on a scale before buying your groceries, and probably produce a BMI identification card in order to buy anything more than vegetables and fruit.

  56. 56 On February 1st, 2008, Rachele said:

    AAAHHHH! What a load of you know what…
    I promptly emailed him my opinion and encourage everybody to do the same:

    “Representative W.T. Mayhall, Jr.,

    I understand that you have proposed legislation that forbids restaurants and food establishments from serving food to anyone who is obese. I find this extremely disturbing and shocking. What you have proposed is discrimination and unacceptable. I am 5’9″ and 290 lbs and am considered “obese” according to our government’s BMI charts. This country’s idea of “overweight” or “obesity” is grossly inaccurate and not based on the person’s actual health or eating habits. Personally, I am not a binge eater and am happy, healthy and should be treated no differently than someone who weighs less than me or more than me! I am completely horrified at the thought of going to a restaurant and being weighed and told that I couldn’t eat there. Or maybe you think we should be labeled or carry cards to show our BMI? What you are proposing is no different than racial or religious discrimination. We should be coming together as a country to accept all different types and sizes of people and not imposing segregation. I urge you to reconsider proposing and supporting this House Bill. We are not the enemy and there should be no war on obesity. I am not a virus or epidemic and should NOT be quarantined. I deserve to treated fairly and with respect and dignity. I deserve to be treated like a person and have the right to go out and eat at a restaurant without judgement.”

  57. 57 On February 1st, 2008, Linda said:

    PLEASE everyone actually go right now and fire off an email to that guy. Don’t get angry for 5 minutes and then get back to what you were doing.

  58. 58 On February 1st, 2008, MrsDrC said:

    So what bill was this attached too? Seems like an obvious attempt to kill a real bill by attaching this BS one to it.

  59. 59 On February 1st, 2008, Charlotte said:

    My mind was offically blown when read about this. It hit a nerve for me because, being a 22 year old African-American female, I never thought that in this day and age I’d have to face such blatant discrimination. Obviously, since they can’t get to my race or my gender anymore, the’re going to the fat. Absolutley ridiculous.

  60. 60 On February 1st, 2008, Sarahbear said:

    I was so angry last night when I first read about the proposition for this bill that I literally could not write a coherent response! All I posted in my journal on Deviant Art were the words, “This is some BULLSHIT” that linked to Sandy’s article on JFS. It doesn’t matter that this bill will not be passed. The simple fact that it is being PROPOSED is UNACCEPTABLE. As someone on BFB pointed out, and I think Big Liberty also pointed it out here, this bill is designed to be outrageous so that when they come up with a “less outrageous” bill later that proposes government intervention in peoples’ lives, it will have a greater likelihood of passing into law.

    I am in the process of emailing Mayhall, and I also plan on writing him a physical letter and mailing it (mailed letters have more impact). I am outraged, and I will NOT sit quietly while my civil rights are being dangled in front of me like a carrot on a stick. That’s MY FUCKING CARROT. My body is NOT government property!

  61. 61 On February 1st, 2008, Sarahbear said:

    I’ve just drafted my email, and I would like some feedback before I send it to Mayhall.

    “Representative W.T. Mayhall, Jr.,

    I am shocked and appalled by your proposition of House Bill 282. What this bill proposes is discriminatory as well as abusive, and is certainly a violation of personal privacy. This bill is nothing more than veiled prejudice. It is not designed to help anybody. Targeting the fat population of Mississippi for humiliation and for psychological and physical abuse is in no way helpful or motivational, and it certainly is not civil.

    The proposition of Bill 282 is reminiscent of racial and religious segregation. What is next? Will you separate fat children into special weight management facilities veiled as schools in order to “promote their good health?” Will you promote the extraction of fat children from loving households because their parents saw to their nutritional needs and, as a result, the children got fat?

    Obesity is not a disease and it does not need to be “cured.” And it certainly does not need government intervention. Most often, when people reach or surpass the government standard of obesity as set by Body Mass Index, it is not a result of irresponsible lifestyle. Fat is a natural body component and the amount of fat on a person’s body relies largely on genetics. Certain groups of Americans that hail from ethic backgrounds tend to naturally accumulate more fat than what is considered “appropriate” or “healthy” by BMI standards. Examples include African Americans, Hispanics, Polynesians, and others. Fat is not indicative of health. Cholesterol, glucose levels, blood pressure: these are indicative of health, and often times have nothing to do with fat percentage.

    The bottom line is this: The government has no sovereign right over my body. My body is not government property. I and every fat person in this country deserve to be treated with all the respect and obliged all the rights afforded to thin people. And I will eat out in public whenever I damn well please.”

  62. 62 On February 1st, 2008, Autumn May said:

    That wouldn’t logically happen, would it? I mean you can propose anything but in truth, the Corporation is just as big or bigger than our government, and what makes Burger King’s money isn’t going to be denied.

  63. 63 On February 1st, 2008, Missa said:

    So after I picked my jaw up off the floor and stopped rocking back and forth muttering “what the fuck?” you know what I thought?

    This sounds like an EXCELLENT opportunity to start seriously campaigning for weight to be added to federal anti-discrimination laws.

    Thank you, Rep. Mayhall for making the point so frighteningly clear.

  64. 64 On February 1st, 2008, red_delicious said:

    Sarahbear, that is a really great, really empowering letter, I believe you should send it.
    Btw, I’m xNotoriousxCx ( on deviantart, let’s be watchers of each other!

  65. 65 On February 1st, 2008, Sherie Sanders said:

    Wow! I just googled that moron Mayfield and several blogs have already taken him to task. Many were not size acceptance blogs either. This has so much potential to back fire I could dance with joy! I think it is a great opening for our message!

    p.s. Great letters guys! People will be interested in this story. Lets use some spiritual akido and use their own stupidity against them. The time is NOW!!!!!!

    “A waste is a terrible thing to mind!”

  66. 66 On February 1st, 2008, K-Man said:

    People, I’m morbidly obese too, but there’s a larger agenda here and one poster has already alluded to it (response 41). Let me explain.

    This is Mississippi, you know. Racism is never too far away there. Rep. Mayhall’s intended targets are African-Americans, who have been shown in studies to be more likely than most other groups to suffer from obesity and associated health issues. He is certainly old enough (looks to be in his 70s) to remember what he probably regards as the “glory days” of Jim Crow, when blacks couldn’t eat in most restaurants, so he sees this as a back-door way of bringing back those good old times.

    Hardly anything else would explain the sanctimonious stupidity of a bill suddenly purporting to address adult obesity as a problem in a state that otherwise always comes at the bottom in public health measures and spending. Note that he didn’t introduce a bill to address that state’s appalling infant mortality problem. He instead introduced one that just happens to affect disproportionately the half of the state’s population who are black. Who’s fooling whom here?

  67. 67 On February 2nd, 2008, Sarahbear said:

    Red_delicious: thanks for the feedback, and re: DA, sounds good to me. :D

  68. 68 On February 2nd, 2008, Fat Man said:

    Yeah! I’m fat! I’m obese!

    I’m packing about 400 pounds on a 5 ft 6 in frame. BMI 64.5 and I have been fat most of my life.

    I eat all the “correct” foods, getting plenty of vegetables and fresh fruit, lean meat like mostly chicken, and fish. I actually prefer fish more than meat.

    I avoid junk foods, and I try to get some exercise at least every other day.

    And I’m still FAT!!!

    But I really don’t mind being fat! So, I’m unapologetically fat. I don’t apologize for my size!

    But unfortunately, I’m also diabetic, on insulin and oral medications, and sometimes my blood sugars get way too low, then in an emergency I will have a Coke or a Pepsi, but I prefer fruit juice instead, made from concentrates, with no added sugar and no high fructose corn syrup. Just the natural carbohydrates with some vitamin C when my blood sugars are too low!

    OK, now what do you suppose would happen if one day while I out around town, and I feel the symptoms of low blood sugars, and I need something to eat in and emergency, so I go into a restaurant for something to eat, and they refuse to serve me, and push me out of their establishment to collapse in their parking lot, and I pass out!

    THEN WHAT???

    Do I just lay there and die??? Would they say, sorry you can’t have some fruit juice or a coke because you’re too fat? Here, have a Diet Pepsi instead!!!

    It’s obvious that these two ignorant buffoons, W.T. Mayhall Jr. and John Read (who probably can’t read) don’t know jack-shit about medical science.

    Mayhall is a Methodist and Jake Read is a Baptist, both Christian Funny-mentalists, so they don’t know jack shit about any kind of science at all.

    They probably believe that the universe is only 6000 years old, that the earth is flat, the moon is made of green cheese, and the stork delivers the babies, or some shit like that! Or, whatever it is that Christian funny-mentalists believe.

    And it is uneducated fuck-tards with no knowledge of medical science who wish to pass legislation to control what we eat???

    And so, to be allowed to eat in a restaurant, your BMI must be less than 30, and to be a politician, your IQ must be less than your shoe size!

    I once scored 150 points on a standard IQ test when I was 13 years old.

    I should be running this country, and NOT a couple of tards with the IQ of a houseplant!

    Hey! Why not?

    I’m the one who should be large and in charge!

    We fat people should all be dressed up in long flowing, loose fitting, purple gowns and wearing little solid gold crowns on top of our heads.

    Now, that would look really cute!!!

  69. 69 On February 2nd, 2008, Fat Girl said:

    Ugh. What a friggen STUPID idea.

    And judging from the obvious “overweight” status of at least one of the persons involved I’m sure that the terms defined by the state would not include people of his size, but rather people who are larger. I’m betting in his head he’s thinking the hugely obese folk you see on TV at food addiction clinics.

    Which doesn’t make it OK in the least, but is probably what they are thinking. Yeah. Great Idea, boys. Lets starve the fatties!

    *rolls her eyes*

  70. 70 On February 2nd, 2008, Rachel said:

    I think we have to ask ourselves here: Who benefits?

    Obviously tourism and the economy aren’t foremost in the minds of these lawmakers. I would love to see a list of their campaign donors – I’m willing to bet at least a few diet, Big Pharma and WLS surgery folks are listed as top donors.

  71. 71 On February 2nd, 2008, Sherie Sanders said:

    Absolutely Rachel! Maybe we should all write the Mississippi tourist board and explain what a negative association we now have with Miss. As someone else pointed out, a huge part of their economy is casinos. How many people will this cause to choose other vacation destinations? What is good for bigdietpharma (BARFMA) is not always good for the general economy.

  72. 72 On February 2nd, 2008, Liza said:

    OK, disregarding the part where this is disgusting, offensive, and unconstitutional, how would this even be enforceable? I mean, where is the line where you can say, sorry, you’re too fat to eat here, but your friend is OK? Who’s definition of “obese” are we using? I mean, to some people I’m disgustingly morbidly obese, but to others I am cute and normal looking. So how can you enforce a standard that is so subjective?

    This won’t pass.

  73. 73 On February 2nd, 2008, BigLiberty said:


    Sorry I didn’t get to comment sooner (my DF and I are busy renovating our new home, with our own two hands!), but I think your letter is really great. It covers a lot of the points I think are important to highlight — that this isn’t just segregation (psychological abuse), but also starvation (physical abuse). Sure, we can all still get our Twinkies, baby donuts, and tubes of cookie dough batter at the grocery store, but I assume there are many situations where someone, at some time during their day/week/etc, doesn’t have access to a grocery store and goes hungry (if just for a meal or two) because they can’t go to a food preparation venue to get something to eat.

    And furthermore – what sense does it make to get people out of restaurants, anyway? They can still get food at the grocery store. Is this so that the ‘fatties’ finally ‘lose that weight’ or so that the fattists don’t have to watch us eating in restaurants anymore?


  74. 74 On February 3rd, 2008, Fat Man said:

    Well, I’m just going to say this. . . . .

    If the bill passes, and all the restaurants lose their business and end up having to file for bankruptcy, and tourism goes bust, and the Mississippi economy goes El Foldo and turns belly up . . . . .

    I’m going to laugh my big fat ass off!!!

  75. 75 On February 3rd, 2008, Frank said:

    This is Mississippi, where the Klan never died. This law is just more Jim Crow updated for the 21st Century.

    It also underscores the real need for a “New Texas” amendment to the constitution (cf H. Beam Piper and H.L. Menken). Politicians would be less inclined to pull stupid shit like this if they knew we could legally drag them behind the woodshed for the ass-whipping Daddy never gave them.

    It’s a good thing I don’t live in that state. The temptation to buy three used suits from Goodwill, stuff them with rags, attach the pictures of the three products-of-incest on the heads, and hang them with nooses by their front doors with a sign “Jim Crow” and an international “NO” symbol attached to the jackets would be overwhelming.

  76. 76 On February 3rd, 2008, Frank said:

    The Tourism Board for the state of Mississippi would love to learn that your tourism dollars will be spent somewhere else thanks to this bill.

  77. 77 On February 3rd, 2008, Sherie Sanders said:

    OMG!!! I was doing research because I want to write an article
    and dailykos it. So I was looking up Merck, bozo’s former
    company. They were involved in that Vioxx scandal where they
    deliberately covered up the risk of heart attacks. But listen to this
    sleeeeezy tactic quoted from a Washington Post article. They
    actually trained their salesstaff to quote from Dr King’s “I Have A
    Dream Speech” when selling to doctors:

    They were trained how to smile, speak and position themselves
    most effectively when talking with doctors, and were exhorted to
    sell Vioxx and other Merck drugs using the Rev. Martin Luther
    King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

    Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) read from a Merck training
    manual that directed instructors to play a recording of the speech
    and then say to the sales force: “King was someone with
    goal-focus — he kept getting shut down but kept going. . . . Just
    as with a physician, you must keep repeating the compelling
    message and at some point, the physician will be ‘free at last’
    when he or she prescribes the Merck drug, if that is most
    appropriate for the patient.”

    Is that the most disgusting, revolting, UGH…… Not hard at all for
    me to believe this bill is a publicity stunt!

    p.s Frank, thanks for looking up the address. I have been posting it everywhere I could think of.

  78. 78 On February 3rd, 2008, Gina said:

    K-man: I think you hit the nail on the head.

  79. 79 On February 4th, 2008, Sarah said:

    K-man — you’re making some leaps of logic that I don’t see evidence to support. Calling someone a racist is a Big Deal and I know people whose careers have been ruined based on accusations like that. Isn’t being a fat-hating asshole enough?

  80. 80 On February 4th, 2008, BigLiberty said:

    I also think there are some leaps of logic in K-man’s arguments. We need to keep our eye on the ball, here. This is first a fat-hating bill, with secondary consequences to other historically oppressed groups. While those secondary consequences can’t be ignored and should in fact be explored by the right groups, the very fact that this kind of bill gets even a *millisecond* of consideration by a state legislature, while a bill replacing “obese” with “African-American” would not, signifies the bigger battle here is to stop the growing trend of making fat people acceptable scapegoats for all of society’s ills.

    Fighting the last vestiges of racism is a worthy cause. But we are FA activists and need to make sure that our protests have, at the forefront, the eradication of fat hate and fat ignorance. The consequences will be to free some historically oppressed groups from further oppression based on their fat (even if ‘fat’ is just an excuse), as well as freeing the rest of us who are reasonably new to oppression.

  81. 81 On February 4th, 2008, twincats said:

    FWIW, a commenter at the Dispatches from the Culture Wars blog who identified himself as being from MS stated that the real intent of the bill was to protest a proposed smoking ban in public places. Supposedly the two authors of the obesity bill are smokers.

    There were no links or supporting evidence, though.

  82. 82 On February 4th, 2008, Frank said:

    I got a response from the board of tourism. The lady running it is an airhead. She’s completely clueless. She wonders why she’s being blamed for something beyond her control. She doesn’t understand that laws like this, even if not passed, directly affect people’s vacation plans and will have serious effects on her member’s cash flow.

  83. 83 On February 12th, 2008, Sherie Sanders said:

    Well, well, well, well, well!!!!!!!!!! It appears that Merck (company that Mayhall used to work for) was involved in a scandal involving overbilling of medicaid that came to light. So, lets scapegoat obesity so no one will even notice how they ripped off the government. The best con men create distractions. They blind people with their own vulnerability so they never even look in their direction.

  84. 84 On February 12th, 2008, Rachel said:

    Good reporting work, Sherie. I guess gay marriage isn’t quite the diversion it used to be and now politicians are turning to fat people to deflect from real problems at hand.

  85. 85 On March 18th, 2008, Heidi said:

    This is crazy! what’s next if your ugly you have to wear a bag over your head! It is called hate legislation, It should be a hate crime to pick on fat people, maybe all the fat people should ban together like the homosexuals and form a hate crime bill!

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