Opinions: Would you hire a fat person?

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The Independent Online
PETER STRINGFELLOW, nightclub owner: Would I employ a fat person as a waitress, a receptionist, at the bar? NO] High profile, presentable staff require a certain look and style that reflects the glamorous surroundings in which they work. However, my first chef is very overweight, as is my second chef, and it doesn't bother me because they are tremendously talented and not in the public gaze.

MANDY SMITH, former model: I think it's disgusting to discriminate against people at all. If I had the choice of either employing someone who was thin and beautiful and not very bright or someone who was fat, less attractive and brainy then I would have no hesitation in employing the fatter one. They say that big is beautiful, don't they?

NOEL EDMONDS: Mr Blobby is overweight but he's also a bit of a style guru and he has employed people of any size. We would welcome with open arms any of the large people that Peter Stringfellow didn't want at his trendy nightclub. Anybody who attained a certain size predetermined by our own Crinkley Bottom gauge would receive a free tub of ice cream.

SUSIE ORBACH, writer and therapist: I don't think it is my business to dictate how big or small any woman should be.

PETER KINLEY, rowing coach: You leave the nature of the sport to sort out whether you can do it or not. It can be very difficult for a 23-stone person to get into a small wooden boat.

DR ANGELA ARMSTRONG, medical officer, London Fire Brigade: If a man is overweight we can't take him on, because it would have an effect on his locomotive system which could lead to a bad accident. If I get a big chap in and he's overweight according to the chart, yet he's all muscle, that's different. Obviously you've also got to be thin enough to be able to crawl under burning Tube trains and the like, but still the men do have problems - I once saw a fireman get stuck in a sewer pipe.

MARK LOCKWOOD, executive director, Virgin Airship and Balloon Company: The bigger the pilot, the bigger the balloon we can fly and the more advertising we can provide. And if it's a bumpy landing the passengers can always fall on top of the pilot to make it softer.

LESLIE KARK, director, Lucie Clayton Finishing School: A well-blessed woman would probably be welcome to work here. It would give the girls comfort, especially if she were a cook, although I confess that I don't remember employing many obese women. I do remember one particularly large woman who used to write books on slimming and was an example to one and all. She used to say 'Just look at me, you don't want to end up like me do you?'

(Photograph omitted)

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