Roxane Gay Body Shamed by Podcast Host Who Revealed Her Team’s Private Accommodations Requests

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Many on social media were outraged by Mia Freedman (right) publishing requests from Roxane Gay’s team. (Eva Blue/LinkedIn)

Roxane Gay has two words to describe an Australian website that disclosed accommodations it made for her promotional interview: “disgusting and shameful.”

The New York Times best-selling author spoke to Mamamia’s podcast, “No Filter,” with host Mia Freedman Monday, June 11, about her memoir, “Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body.

To accompany the interview, Freedman wrote an article — which has since been deleted but still lives on in cached form — detailing requests Gay’s team made for her appearance.

“I would never normally breach the confidence of what goes on behind the scenes while organizing an interview, but in this case, it’s a fundamental part of her story and what her book is about,” Freedman wrote. “You see, Roxane Gay is … I’m searching for the right word to use here. I don’t want to say fat, so I’m going to use the official medical term: super morbidly obese. It’s not just that she’s overweight, though Roxane is 6 foot 3.

“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,” Freedman wrote. “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.”

Gay’s book details her story of her weight and self-image, which was discussed openly on the podcast.

“It’s very stressful because you just never know if there is a space that is going to accommodate me,” Gay told Freedman. “Are there going to be sturdy chairs? Are the chairs going to have arms? How wide are the arms? How low is the chair? It’s just a constant series of questions that you are asking yourself every single day before you go into any space, and it’s exhausting because people don’t think, they just assume that everyone fits in the world like they do.”

But Gay tweeted her humiliation about how Freedman made public her team’s requests to accommodate her for the sit-down, which the publication apologized for Tuesday, June 13.

Gay also cleared up the requests.

Gay refused to speak further on the issue.

“As a publisher that’s consistently championed body diversity and representation in the media, we believe the conversations sparked by Roxane’s book are vitally important for women and are disappointed our execution of this story hasn’t contributed in the way we intended,” Mamamia wrote in a statement Tuesday, June 13. “We’re deeply apologetic that, in this instance, we’ve missed the mark in contributing to this discussion.

“Prior to the interview, many requests were made to the producer of the episode via email and in phone calls by Roxane’s book publishers about the logistics of her visit.

“We understand these questions were asked in good faith to make Roxane feel as comfortable as possible and we willingly answered all questions and complied with all requests. It is always our top priority that all our guests feel welcomed, relaxed and at ease.”

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