'Silly me thinking I should ever go out in public and be treated like a person': Best-selling author fat-shamed on a flight

Roxane Gay (Photo:  David Buchan / Shutterstock)

Many of us can relate to suffering through an airplane flight from hell in coach, imagining the comforts of a first-class seat.

When we experience being insulted, we might also imagine that something like that would never happen if we were famous and successful. That’s not entirely true, at least not for best-selling author Roxane Gay, who said a fellow first-class passenger weight-shamed her with the snap of a photo.

“Just caught the guy next to me taking a picture of me,” she tweeted while on her flight. “If the floor could open up and swallow me right now I would be grateful.”


Years after Gay released her memoir Hunger, which chronicles what it’s like to live as a larger woman in a fat-phobic world, she still faces this kind of treatment. This seemed to happen just hours after being surrounded by A-list stars at the Emmys and en route to speak about female power alongside former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards at Connecticut Forum’s Women Rising event.

Right away, the writer’s followers, including actress Patricia Arquette, offered messages of support, love — and anger toward her seat mate.

“I’m sorry this happened to you,” Arquette wrote. “It really is repulsive of him, and HE should be the one to fall through the crack in the Earth.”



Several people, including Sarah Silverman, wondered if maybe the man recognized her and wanted to share that he was next to a celebrity.


But others dismissed that as a viable explanation, especially given how it made Gay feel.


A few trolls stepped in to wonder if the author was taking up the man’s seat. In a since-deleted reply, she explained that she was in first class and had plenty of space.

While many fans wanted her to take a photo of the man for revenge, she did not respond to those requests. (She has also not responded to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.)

She later added, “Silly me thinking I should ever go out in public and be treated like a person. Won’t happen again!”


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