The Independent's journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

Jameela Jamil criticises Urban Outfitters for promoting laxative 'detox tea'

'It’s like a diarrhoea special of Black Mirror'

Sarah Young
Monday 14 January 2019 12:00 GMT
Jameela Jamil discusses being made to look white in campaigns and on magazines

Jameela Jamil has called out Urban Outfitters for promoting a detox tea on its social media channels.

Jamil, who stars as Tahani Al-Jamil on hit NBC comedy The Good Place, is known for speaking her mind when it comes to healthy living, having previously called out Kim Kardashian for promoting appetite suppressant lollipops and creating the “I Weigh” movement in an effort to promote body positivity.

Now, the British actor has turned her attention to multinational lifestyle retailer Urban Outfitters, slamming its US division for selling a tea that contains senna - a natural laxative made from the leaves and fruit of the senna plant.

Alongside a screenshot from the Urban Outfitters Instagram stories promoting Flat Tummy Co.’s Flat Tummy Tea 2-Week Herbal Supplement, Jamil wrote: “Urban outfitters now selling laxatives.

“This advert should say ‘Do you want tummy trouble?’ ‘Would you like to s*** fire?’

“Disappointing ‪@UrbanOutfitters you have a very young customer fan base. To the Bad Place you go.”

The actor and activist followed with another tweet that featured an image of Bridesmaid’s infamous food poisoning scene, writing: “Man, all these brands and celebrities really just want women to poo. It’s like a diarrhoea special of Black Mirror.”

Hundreds of fans have since commented on Jamil’s post to condemn the retailer with many agreeing to boycott the store.

“100 per cent agree. You think I'm going to allow my teenage daughters into your Covent Garden store with anything resembling my money now? How irresponsible can you be?” one person wrote.

Another added: “As someone struggling with an IBD, this is disgusting. I love UO but glamorising laxatives for fashion isn't helping anyone and can be so damaging to people for SO many reasons.”

The product promoted by Urban Outfitters says it’s “packed with ingredients known to traditionally cleanse your system”.

One of which being senna, an ingredient that has been classified by the NHS as a medication used to treat constipation.

“Detox teas often contain senna, which is a laxative,” Dr Chloe Hall, a spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, previously told The Independent.

“These irritate the stomach lining and can cause cramps and diarrhoea.”

She added that drinking teas which contain senna could also disrupt the body's electrolyte balance and subsequently cause heart problems in the long run.

In 2017, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) issued a complaint against an ad for Flat Tummy Tea, as promoted by Geordie Shore star Sophie Kasaei.

An ad promoting Flat Tummy Tea was banned by the ASA in 2017 (Instagram: @sophiekasaei_)

It found that Nomad Choice, the company in charge of Flat Tummy Tea, “did not hold scientific data to support their claims that the tea ingredients could help with water weight loss” and therefore found that it had breached rulings.

“There are strict advertising rules surrounding health claims that can or cannot be made be made for food and drink products,” a spokesperson for the ASA previously told The Independent.

“These rules apply equally to claims made by influencers on behalf of brands and, in the case of the Instagram post promoting Flat Tummy Tea, they weren’t listed as authorised claims and therefore broke the advertising rules,”

The ad, in its incriminating form, was subsequently banned.

The Independent has contacted Urban Outfitters for comment.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in