You can’t have spent any time on Twitter in the last couple of days without seeing reference to #OverweightHaters, an organisation which is apparently going up to overweight people and handing them cards calling them fat, lazy porkers (I paraphrase).
I’m writing this as someone whose BMI is in the overweight range, and thus probably qualifies to receive one of these cards (note for anyone that tries it, I hope you’re not too attached to your fingers).
At the moment, I’m convinced it’s either a one-off by a thoroughly nasty individual, or some sort of publicity stunt, guerrilla marketing campaign, or similar. It’s all a bit, well, odd. Circumstantial, circular references abound.
Only one person has actually posted about receiving one of these cards. A second person has tweeted about seeing someone else being given one of them, but if it were a sustained campaign of fat-shaming, I think Twitter/Facebook would be full of “some bastard gave me one of these cards,” posts, rather than circular references to the same person being given a card.
The person who tweeted about receiving the card last tweeted in 2012, and hasn’t tweeted since, despite half the world trying to get in touch with her. It seems unlikely to me that your first action on receiving a card calling you names would be to post about it on a social platform you’ve hardly ever used before. Maybe I’m wrong, but…
OverweightHaters Ltd has no internet presence that I could find. No Twitter account, no Facebook page, no website. I ended up on page 17 of Google results looking for anything other than a link to news stories about this one event, and we all know that page 17 of Google is the pit of desperation. [The website overweighthaters.com was registered by someone with no purported connection to this group whilst I was drafting this]
The name of the website the images are being hosted on seems a bit to coincidental for someone who’s saying they’ve been fat-shamed. Slimg? Really? And that background image on the home page…
The website seems mainly to be used as an image hosting service for things posted to Reddit and similar sites, for what it’s worth.
The card has no contact information on it, and is full of grammatical and spelling mistakes. If it were an actual entity, you’d hope somebody in it could spell and proof-read. If the organisation had any web presence, this would be listed on the card, if only so they could get off on the messages telling them how horrible and upsetting they are. Bullies rarely bully in a vacuum, they bully to get a result. If you don’t leave any way for your victims to get in touch with you, how do you know how upset they are?
This one’s a bit of a stretch, but there is no entity called “Overweight Haters Ltd” listed on Companies House.
If this organisation is real, they’re probably not paying attention to the finer points of company law, but you can’t call yourself “Ltd” unless you’re a Limited Company and registered as such on the Companies House website. Yes, if that was my only bit of evidence, I’d be on distinctly thin ice, but taken in conjunction with everything else, it’s making me think it’s some sort of publicity stunt, a wind-up from a site such as 4Chan, or some other exercise in watching the Twitter mob work itself into a fury and let rip over nothing.
That is, I think, the great weakness of Twitter – that if most people in your Twitter bubble are saying how terrible something is, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the mob because it’s easy to miss the dissenting voices saying “um, hang on a second.”
I know there are a lot of ifs, buts and maybes in this post, and very little that’s concrete, but then it seems to me that there are an awful lot of ifs, buts and maybes in the whole story, with very little that’s concrete.
If it is true, it’s properly awful and I’m really sorry for any innocent person that it’s happened to, and I hope everyone who thought it was a good idea gets septic paper cuts, but, at the moment, it all seems circumstantial, vague and unconvincing.