Veteran media commentator and former reporter Mike Carlton has been criticized online after criticizing Australian of the Year Taryn Brumfitt, saying she had “made a penny saying it’s okay to be a little fat”.
Ms Brumfitt, who won the title at a ceremony in Canberra on Wednesday, went viral after putting a spin on the ‘before and after’ photo.
The influencer showed a before photo of her during her bodybuilding days, alongside a more recent photo of her carrying more weight but feeling more comfortable.
But Carlton last night criticized Ms Brumfitt’s choice as Australian of the Year, saying he would have preferred it had gone to a health professional.
“My Australian of the Year would be a doctor or nurse working nights in intensive care or emergency ward dealing with COVID and daily death. Genuine, loving work. For little money,’ he says.
“NOT someone who makes money saying it’s okay to be a little fat.”
Carlton’s followers were quick to respond, with one pointing out the “massive and underreported” issue of eating disorders, while another suggested that the commentator had “clearly never dealt with body image issues that are debilitating for so many.”
Some followers agreed with his call, with one citing the health worker angle as a good point but saying “body image is also an important issue”.
After receiving the Australian of the Year award, she called on women to reframe the conversation about body image and make an effort to include men.
“This is a space that’s been dominated by women for a long time, (but) it’s for everyone,” she said in a radio interview.
“I have met many men who have had many stories about men’s body image; they just don’t talk about it.”