A week-and-a-half ago we brought you the tragic tale of Travel Channel host Adam Richman's ill-advised online tirade against a group of angry "anti-size discrimination" activists. Well, now it turns out he'll pay a steep price for calling one woman a "cunt" and suggesting that a second kill herself, while the Outrage Industrial Complex gets to celebrate another victory over the socially unjust kyriarchy. So it's, you know, a win-win.
If you missed it, here are the basics: A couple of weeks back Richman, who made a name for himself hosting Man v. Food, posted a picture of his dramatic weight loss on Instagram along with a series of hashtags, one of which happened to be "#thinspiration." This was quickly called out by a 27-year-old blogger named Amber, who calls herself the "Adipose Activist"; she suggested that her readers inform Richman that #thinspiration was a popular mantra among the online anorexic crowd and that he should probably know this (because it's imperative that we each be aware of every shibboleth among every subculture or social justice warrior cause célèbre or risk being held accountable). It's impossible to know how many people actually descended on Richman and began hounding him, but at some point he started lashing out at his tormentors, unleashing a furious volley of invective. In response to this, Amber told her readers to contact the Travel Channel and let them know what kind of public behavior one of its stars was engaging in.
It would appear that they listened. Or possibly that the Travel Channel became aware of Richman's rant through the press it generated.
His new show for the network, Man Finds Food, was set to debut tomorrow but it's now reportedly been pulled from the schedule and shelved indefinitely. Not only that, the show has vanished from the Travel Channel's website. The network won't confirm whether Richman's online behavior had anything to do with its decision to quietly make his new project disappear into thin air, but the people behind it are still behaving as if there's a chance the thing might premiere at a later date. The latest status update at the Man Finds Food Facebook page reads, "Still waiting for a airing date for the show."
Richman dug his own grave here, certainly. Despite apologizing profusely in the wake of the incident, it was always going to do almost nothing to salve the wounds of those he attacked and offended. The only question was how the Travel Channel would respond, if it did at all. This is one of those cases where just about everybody is wrong: Adipose Activist Amber and her trained cadre of pissy little pilers-on never should have turned a simple, stupid Instagram update into a cause for a crusade; Richman didn't need to be "educated" about how his language was some kind of trigger word or was otherwise not-okay in the opinion of a bunch of people who up until that point probably hadn't even paid attention to him. Amber's actions were nothing more than social media-fueled arrogance.
But of course Richman should've known better. No matter what, it's always a good idea to simply shrug off online antagonists rather than get into a scrap with them, particularly when you're a public figure with something to lose. These days, even the tiniest of nobodies can be turned into a national pariah once the full wrath of the internet comes down on them, so the last thing you want to do if you're a celebrity -- even a C-lister -- is make yourself a bigger target. The mob of online scolds made Adam Richman's life difficult by giving him a giant ration of shit, out of the blue, just because it felt it was its responsibility to do so. But his response is surely what allowed those same people -- and this constroversy in general -- to wind up really hurting him.