Rihanna fat-shaming: Blogger sparks outrage for claiming singer looks like she's in 'sumo suit'

'It's time to worry if you're not a guy who fancies himself a chubby chaser,' says Chris Spagnuolo

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The Independent Culture

A blogger has sparked outrage for accusing Rihanna of being overweight and arguing the singer could encourage other women to gain weight.

Chris Spagnuolo, whose nickname is Spags, claimed the eight-time Grammy Award winner looked like she was in a “sumo suit” and “pushing 180”.

The journalist, who writes for sports and men’s lifestyle blog Barstools Sport, said the Barbados-born singer’s long-standing role as a fashion trendsetter and tastemaker could mean the “hottest girls look like the humans in Wall-E and just in time for summer”.

Wall-E is a dystopian sci-fi animation film which explores consumerism, climate change and obesity, where the humans are so overweight that they can barely move.

Writing in his fiercely criticised blog post “Is Rihanna Going to Make Being Fat the Hot New Trend?” Mr Spagnulo, who calls himself “Straight Spags” on Twitter, said: “It looks to me like Rihanna is rocking some new high key thiccness [sic].

“And based on what I've seen, that means it's time to worry if you're not a guy who fancies himself a chubby chaser.”

He added: “A world of ladies shaped like the Hindenburg loaded into one-piece bathing suits may be on the horizon now that Rihanna is traipsing around out there looking like she's in a sumo suit."

The remarks about Rihanna, one of the best-selling artists of all time who has carved out a dedicated and eclectic fan base over the years, immediately prompted outrage on Twitter. Critics heaped praise on the singer’s body and argued the comments were a “joke“, "cruel”, and “offensive”.

One critic said: "I've yet to come across one male employee at barstool that isn't shaped like a lump of raw dough so congratulations you played yourself."

Another said: "Barstool has always treated women like sh*t. It's gross, but nothing new. There are no repercussions because this is what the site and readers want”.

Mr Spagnuolo has now claimed he is being bullied, tweeting: “Rihanna fans did not like my blog calling her fat and now I’m being cyber-bullied”.

The founder of Barstool Sports, a satirical website which has previously been accused of sexism but has seen its monthly traffic increase from 1.4 million unique viewers to eight million in the last five years, has now taken down the blogpost and issued a faux half-hearted apology for the comments.

Dave Portnoy said he did not think the post “was as bad as many are making it out to be” and said he was only removing it because it was not funny enough.

Writing in a statement, he said: “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. So if you’re gonna blog about Rihanna gaining weight you better be funny as f*** and you better make it bullet proof.” 

He added: “As I’ve said many times Spags wasn’t originally hired to be a personality at Barstool. He should not be writing blogs that we as a company end up having to defend. And I’ve been doing this long enough to know that somewhere down the line this blog will be dug up again and used as an example of our extreme sexism. Frankly, that’s not a hill I’m willing to die on. I’ll choose a different guy and a different blog to go to war for.”

A representative for Rihanna did not immediately respond to request for comment.