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Demi Lovato recently slammed a frozen-yogurt shop for selling "sugar free cookies/other diet foods."
The singer, who is open about her eating disorders, was criticized for "bullying" a small business.
She explained her triggers in a video on Monday and apologized for getting "the messaging wrong."
Demi Lovato has apologized after starting a public feud with The Bigg Chill, a frozen-yogurt shop in Los Angeles.
The "California Sober" singer slammed the shop for carrying sugar-free cookies and "other diet foods," which she saw as perpetuating a culture of body shame and disordered eating.
However, Lovato was widely criticized for "bullying" a small business and disregarding others' dietary needs, such as those with diabetes or celiac disease.
"I'm sorry that I may have disappointed some people. But I'm not coming after a small business as someone with a lot of followers. That's not what I'm doing here," she said in a video on Monday.
"I walked into a situation that didn't sit right with me, my intuition said 'speak up about this,' so I did," she continued. "And I feel good about that. What I don't feel good about is some of the way that it's been interpreted and how the message has gotten misconstrued over all of it."
Keep reading for a complete breakdown of what happened.
Lovato accused The Bigg Chill of selling products with 'harmful messaging' that caused her to feel triggered
Lovato took a stand against The Bigg Chill on Sunday, when she tagged the shop in a disparaging message on her Instagram story.
"Finding it extremely hard to order froyo from @thebiggchillofficial when you have to walk past tons of sugar free cookies/other diet foods before you get to the counter," she wrote. "Do better please."
In a follow-up message, Lovato doubled down on her use of the hashtag "Diet Culture Vultures."
"I will be calling [out] harmful messaging from brands or companies that perpetuate a society that not only enables but praises disordered eating."
Shortly after, Lovato posted screenshots of her direct messages with the shop's official page, which had responded to her story and objected to the label "diet vultures."
"We cater to all of our customers' needs for the past 36 years. We are sorry you found this offensive," the shop wrote.
Lovato's reply accused the shop's employees of being "so rude" and described her experience there as "triggering and awful."
She urged the shop to make its environment more "inviting" for people with eating disorders and to label different food options with specific dietary restrictions, such as "celiac or diabetes or vegans."
"When it's not super clear, the messaging gets confusing and being in LA it's hard to distinguish diet culture vs health needs," she wrote. "You aren't wrong for catering to many different needs but it's not about excluding one demographic to cater to others."
Lovato has long been open about her experiences with bulimia and orthorexia. Back in 2018, she told Insider that grappling with disordered eating is "a daily thing," especially in regards to dieting and maintaining a healthy relationship to exercise.
More recently, she revealed that her former management team restricted her food intake so rigidly that she was only given watermelon cake on her birthdays.
Some felt Lovato's callout was aggressive and unnecessary, while others called it exclusionary
On Monday, Lovato's name was trending on Twitter as fans and critics reacted to her Instagram story.
While some were supportive, many found it distasteful for a celebrity to target a local shop, rather than critiquing the language of diet culture in general - particularly because the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on small businesses.
Others said Lovato, who has over 100 million followers on Instagram, was intentionally bullying the shop and its employees.
Lovato was also criticized for seeming to prioritize her own needs over those with other illnesses or health conditions, who may need low-fat, sugar-free, or gluten-free options.
Some critics even called her "immature" or "self-centered," arguing that it's unfair to expect businesses to eliminate her triggers.
Lovato doubled down, sharing a screenshot from The Bigg Chill's Instagram account to underscore her point
The photo shows a basket of individually wrapped baked goods from the brand Eat Me Guilt Free.
Marketing food as "guilt-free" is seen as problematic because it implies that some foods are "good" and others are "bad." For those with disordered eating habits, this language can promote toxic calorie-counting and dangerous binge-purge cycles.
"This screams diet culture and I won't be gaslit by the media or anyone else that says otherwise," Lovato wrote on her Instagram story alongside the photo.
"I don't need to feel guilt free about eating anything," she continued, tagging The Bigg Chill once again. "This was what I was talking about and this is directly from their own page."
Apparently in response to the backlash, Lovato added: "It's time the media stops gaslighting women who stand up for themselves."
TMZ then published unseen messages between Lovato and The Bigg Chill, which seem to show her threatening the shop
The screenshot of their DMs shows the shop defending itself to Lovato, saying it has not carried Eat Me Guilt Free products in "years."
The Instagram post promoting the brand, which the shop claimed is from 2016, has apparently been deleted.
Lovato was unmoved, however, accusing The Bigg Chill of selling similar cookies from the brand Lenny & Larry's.
"Don't keep going w this. You don't want to mess w me. You're in the wrong and the customer is always right," she replied, adding: "If it's still in your site GUESS WHAT - YOU'RE STILL SUPPORTING IT."
It's unclear what Lovato meant by this, as The Bigg Chill does not appear to sell any cookies or "diet" products on its website.
Lovato was swiftly mocked for these messages on Twitter. Many people felt they made her seem entitled, out of touch, or just plain rude.
Shortly after, Lovato shared a video explaining her feelings and motivations
In the eight-minute clip, Lovato gave some context to her initial reaction, saying she works to overcome food-related shame on a daily basis.
"I still to this day have a hard time walking into a fro-yo shop, ordering yogurt, and being content with it and keeping it down. I know that seems like not a huge deal to a lot of people, but for me it is," she said.
The former Disney star also explained that she feels "super sensitive" and "protective" about frozen yogurt in particular, because she saw it as a "safe," low-calorie food when she was in the throes of disordered eating. Lovato said she knows other people with anorexia who also "struggle" with fro-yo.
She said the shop's goal with selling these sugar-free products - providing options for a variety of dietary needs - wasn't made "clear" with signage, so she "definitely jumped to conclusions."
Lovato acknowledged that she handled the situation poorly and thusly "disappointed some people," but stood by her decision to call out The Bigg Chill.
"Overcoming my addictions, my drug addictions, was because I can walk away from that and never touch it again for the rest of my life," she said. "But I have to eat three times a day. This is something that will be with me for the rest of my life."
"I left that yogurt store and didn't get the yogurt that I wanted. And then I had a hard time the rest of the weekend, to be totally transparent," she continued. "And that's probably something that nobody wants me to say, but I'm human and I talk about my struggles. And I'm passionate, so I'm sorry that I got the messaging wrong."
She insisted that her actions were "well-intentioned," offering to work with The Bigg Chill on its branding practices.
"I will do whatever I can to work with this fro-yo shop, if they want to, to help align the messaging to where I feel safe going in there and I can eat the fro-yo that I went in there for," she said. "My intentions were not to come in and bully a small business. I walked in, was so triggered that I left without froyo, and it made me really sad."
Lovato concluded her message by saying that "being a celebrity is exhausting sometimes" and thanking her fans for their support.
Read the original article on Insider