Cancer Research UK have come under fire for a new advertising campaign that has been accused of 'fatshaming'. The advert involves a poster campaign listing obesity as a major risk factor for cancer, warning that being obese is the second biggest preventable cause of the killer disease. Comedian Sofie Hagan is a body positive activist, and she took to Twitter to post a photo of the poster with the caption: "Right, is anyone currently working on getting this piece of shit CancerResearchUK advert removed from everywhere? Is there something I can sign? How the fucking fuck is this okay?" Sofie is set to release a book about body image in the spring, and she believes that the new campaign is damaging to the confidence of young girls.
Right, is anyone currently working on getting this piece of shit CancerResearchUK advert removed from everywhere? Is there something I can sign? How the fucking fuck is this okay? pic.twitter.com/b7eU7lulms— Sofie Hagen (@SofieHagen) 28 February 2018
Cancer Research have defended themselves by arguing that the campaign is not designed to upset anyone, but instead seeks to draw attention to the problem and hopefully save lives. The poster campaign is based on years of research but Sofie believes that more people die from society's view of fatness than fatness related illnesses themselves. She wrote : "Society viewing fatness as a negative thing is a thing that kills more than the cancer that you MIGHT get due to MAYBE something to do with you POSSIBLY weighing MORE than a CERTAIN weight POSSIBLY MAYBE." Hagen said the poster would increase stigma for fat people and claimed that dieting was ‘one of the worst things you can do to your body’.
Cancer has made me feel a lot shitter than you looking at a fucking sign on your way to Gregg's.— Lisa (@lisagravesart) 28 February 2018
The post has sparked a debate on Twitter about the problems associated with being overweight and society's perceptions of 'fat' people. Some have agreed with Sofie, with one writing "I walk past this advert every day and it makes me feel terrible about myself", but others have defended Cancer Research, arguing that they would rather be forced to lose weight than be diagnosed with a preventable cancer. Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s prevention expert, said: "The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the fact that obesity is the biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking. Only 15% of people are aware that obesity is a cause of cancer. Cancer Research UK has a duty to put that message in the public domain." So it looks like the campaign is staying up for now