Wentworth Miller Slams Meme Mocking His Weight

“Like a dandelion up through the pavement, I persist.”

1. Prison Break star Wentworth Miller has opened up about his mental health battles on Facebook, after a meme mocking his weight gain began circulating on the internet.

2. “Today I found myself the subject of an Internet meme,” he wrote. “Not for the first time. This one, however, stands out from the rest.”

“In 2010, semi-retired from acting, I was keeping a low-profile for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I was suicidal.

“In 2010, at the lowest point in my adult life, I was looking everywhere for relief/comfort/distraction. And I turned to food. It could have been anything. Drugs. Alcohol. Sex. But eating became the one thing I could look forward to. Count on to get me through. There were stretches when the highlight of my week was a favorite meal and a new episode of TOP CHEF. Sometimes that was enough. Had to be. And I put on weight. Big f—king deal.”

3. “One day, out for a hike in Los Angeles with a friend, we crossed paths with a film crew shooting a reality show. Unbeknownst to me, paparazzi were circling.”

“They took my picture, and the photos were published alongside images of me from another time in my career. ‘Hunk To Chunk.’ ‘Fit To Flab.’ Etc.”

“My mother has one of those ‘friends’ who’s always the first to bring you bad news. They clipped one of these articles from a popular national magazine and mailed it to her. She called me, concerned. In 2010, fighting for my mental health, it was the last thing I needed. Long story short, I survived. So do those pictures.
I’m glad.”

“The first time I saw this meme pop up in my social media feed, I have to admit, it hurt to breathe. But as with everything in life, I get to assign meaning. And the meaning I assign to this/my image is Strength. Healing. Forgiveness.”

4. Miller has been open about his struggles with depression for a few years now. In 2013, he spoke at the Humans Rights Campaign Dinner in Seattle about his struggles with his mental illness as a teenager, and coming to terms with his sexuality.

“Growing up I was a target. Speaking the right way, standing the right way… Every day was a test and there were a thousand ways to fail… To not live up to someone else’s standard of what was ‘acceptable’, what was ‘normal’.

“The first time I tried to kill myself I was 15… I waited till I was alone in the house… and I swallowed a bottle of pills.

“And when someone asks me if that was a cry for help I say ‘no’, because you only cry for help if you believe there’s someone to cry for.”

5. Miller’s post has already been shared over 10,000 times, with thousands of comments thanking and praising him for his words.

8. If you are in a crisis in Australia, see a list of resources here. If you are based in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

UPDATE

The LAD Bible – the site that originally shared the two images of Miller’s weight change – posted an apology addressed to Miller to its Facebook page on Tuesday morning, saying “mental health is no laughing matter”.

The full statement read: “Wentworth Miller, we posted two pictures of you last night to our Facebook page, but today we want to say we’ve got this very, very wrong. Mental health is no joke or laughing matter. We certainly didn’t want to cause you pain by reminding you of such a low point in your life. Causing distress and upset to innocent or vulnerable people is simply not acceptable.

“TheLADbible continues to cover how prevalent mental health issues are among our audience, as well as the damaging stigma that surrounds such matters.
We applaud your raw honesty and promise to now cover such matters in the responsible manner that our audience expects.

“Responding head-on to our post is something we applaud as it will help others through similar challenges in their lives. Once again, we got this very wrong, and we wanted to say sorry.”

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Brad Esposito is a news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney, Australia.
 
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