Offensive' Billboard In Times Square Sparks Controversy

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Photo Credit: CNBC Television

Photo Credit: CNBC Television

A three-story ad located on West 48th Street and Seventh Avenue has gone viral, sparking criticism for its fat-shaming message.

The billboard reads: "Feeling Fat and Lazy?" over an image of a woman sitting with her head in her hands.

Photo Credit: CNBC Television

Photo Credit: CNBC Television

Actress and activist Jameela Jamil shared a picture of the ad on her Instagram page, captioning it, "Why tho?!"

The owner of the billboard, online wellness coach Deborah Capaccio, stated that she’s gotten "mixed" reviews of the ad, but maintained that she expected the backlash. The ad is promoting Capaccio’s program, which she says is aimed at helping women lose weight, focusing first on the mind, then the body.

Photo Credit: CNBC Television

Photo Credit: CNBC Television

She told CBS New York: "I used those words specifically because I interviewed hundreds and hundreds of women last year. I specifically asked them, 'What are the names that you privately call yourself?’ Fat and lazy by far were the most common."

She paid $13,000 to have the billboard up for four weeks, and it is set to be taken down in the next few days. She stated that she welcomes the controversy.

"Of course there are people who have lashed out, but the beautiful things is, I am here for that backlash if it helps even one more woman," she said.

Photo Credit: CNBC Television

Photo Credit: CNBC Television

The billboard received mixed reviews, with Emily Strickland stating: "I'm really big on body positivity ... I would use my words more carefully if I were putting them on a billboard for lots of people."

Others stated that while they were not offended, the ad was upsetting.

Capaccio stated that she has no regrets regarding the ad.

"I really don't. I don't believe it's shaming at all," she said.

Sources: NBC New York

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