It’s no secret the Internet is prone to get riled up about anything. Sometimes they’re right. Sometimes they’re completely off the mark. This time, when the Internet rallied around Rihanna after she was rudely fat-shamed by a sports site, they were totally spot-on.
On Tuesday, the 29-year-old singer found herself in the middle of a heated cyberbullying debate after her fans viciously slammed a sports site that criticized her recent curvier figure—which looks amazing, BTW.
The site, Barstool Sports, published an article, titled “Is Rihanna Going To Make Being Fat The Hot New Thing,” in which writer Chris “Spags” Spagnuolo claimed the singer’s “high key thickness” was a precursor to “a world of ladies shaped like the Hindenburg.” (Whatever that means.) Spagnuolo attempted to evidence his argument by including a series of grainy paparazzi photos of Rihanna, while trying to explain that her look was either a result of a “bad visual” angle, “enjoying good room service a bit too long” or pregnancy, which he said “happens to the best of us.”
Obviously, the article didn’t go over well with Rihanna’s fans (or anyone with a right mind), who were livid at Barstool Sports for publishing such a disgustingly misogynistic post.
Soon after the backlash went viral, Barstool Sports’ founder Dave Portnoy issued a statement saying he made the executive decision to take down the post and the site’s corresponding tweet that promoted it. We’re being careful to say that Portnoy issued a “statement” rather than an “apology” because, judging from his response, he just wishes the jokes were funnier.
“To be honest I don’t think the blog was as bad as many are making it out to be, but I’ll tell you this,” he wrote. “It wasn’t that funny either and I could have told you with absolute certainty that feminists would hate it and use it as an example of ‘there goes Barstool being Barstool again.'”
Portnoy then not-so-discreetly placed the blame on Spagnuolo for not being a clever-enough writer. (As if funnier puns could ever help a fat-shaming post.)
“There are just certain topics that you better nail if you’re gonna write about them because you know they are hot-button issues for us,” he wrote. “So if you’re gonna blog about Rihanna gaining weight, you better be funny as fuck and you better make it bullet proof.”
As a way to drown out the noise on Barstool’s fat-shaming drama, Rihanna’s fans quickly flooded her mentions with praise for her thicker bod, which the singer appropriately dubbed in 2013 as “Thickanna.”
Rihanna has yet to respond to the criticism. But if we were her, we wouldn’t give Barstool the time of day, either.