Speaking to Fox Business, Michaels said: “I literally let my guard down for an hour with one of my best friends who does my hair and makeup and got it. It's just that simple.”
Yes, that much seems clear-cut. It’s an important message: Don’t risk exposure to somebody who is not taking necessary safety precautions during a pandemic. But it’s what Michaels says next that’s completely unsupported by the facts.
“If you are afraid of COVID, you should not go to the gym," said Michaels. "So if you're not in a mask and that person is not in a mask, and they have COVID and have no idea ... anticipate that you will likely get it in an environment like that.”
This is absolutely false. Claiming that health clubs are a vector of COVID-19 is NOT supported by evidence collected by experts around the world (see below for more on that). But it’s not even supported by Michaels’ own experience! She got the disease from a friend who does her hair and makeup. Unless she gets her hair and makeup done at the gym, it’s bizarre that she would make the leap to blaming health clubs for spreading any illness, much less COVID-19.
What’s going on here?
For starters, Jillian Michaels speaks only for herself. She has never been a credible authority on health clubs and public health. In fact, she’s long been a poor representative of the fitness industry, perpetuating harmful stereotypes about personal trainers and engaging in a long history of fat-shaming, ridiculing those who struggle to lose weight. While she has softened her image from her days on The Biggest Loser, she still uses her platform to bully others, as she did recently when she body-shamed singer Lizzo.
Fitness professionals and members of the health club community DO NOT promote bullying and fat-shaming in any way or form. They know it’s counterproductive to inspiring others to take up the fitness lifestyle. This is yet more evidence that Jillian Michaels does not speak for the fitness industry.