Today, Bad Feminist author, internet icon, and literary luminary Roxane Gay released her latest book, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. Gay’s memoir, a meditation on her relationship with her body and society, has been described as powerful, graceful, sharp, ferocious, and unapologetic. So naturally, she’s already faced a demeaning and “humiliating” experience after taking part in a recent interview.
Yesterday, an Australian website called Mamamia uploaded a podcast episode featuring an interview with Gay. In the episode description and accompanying online post for the podcast, Mamamia’s co-founder and co-director Mia Freedman included some appallingly rude claims about having to work around Gay’s body. In a now-deleted but archived post, Freedman described exchanging logistical emails with Gay’s reps that “both broke my heart and opened my eyes”:
Her size is imposing and also a logistical nightmare for her. The requirements back and forth with her publishers who had brought her out to Australia to promote her books were extremely detailed.
How many steps were there from the curb to the door of the building? Were there any stairs? How many? How big was the lift and was there a goods lift? How many steps from the lift to the podcast studio? There was also a lot of talk about chairs - making sure we had one sturdy enough to both hold her weight and make sure she was comfortable.
The podcast episode description was similarly offensive.
Freedman, who unprofessionally divulged disputable behind-the-scenes details, somehow managed to make the whole thing about her, condescendingly rendering Gay’s experience some kind of salacious pity party. As you would imagine, this did not go over well with fans of Gay and it sure as hell did not go over well with Gay herself.
Mamma took down the online post, tweaked the podcast episode, and posted the kind-of apology that does more explaining and justifying than it does apologizing. (No seriously, they tried to claim that Gay herself talked about the specifics—after being asked by the interviewer about them, naturally.) Here’s Gay’s side of that story from a couple weeks ago.
Nice try, Mamamia.