Weight bias in CBS Blue BloodsDuring an April 2019 episode of CBS’ Blue Bloods (Rectify), a character’s decision to have bariatric surgery was featured in a negative light.

The episode, which shamed that character’s decision and referred to bariatric surgery as taking “the easy way out” and “a cosmetic procedure” was offensive and unacceptable. It was a strong example of obesity stigma in the media and a misunderstanding of this serious disease as well as its available treatments.

How the OAC Took Action

On behalf of our more than 60,000 members, the OAC sent a letter to CBS which educated executives as to why the episode was offensive and consequential. We offered our expertise to help CBS and show affiliates better understand the issue of obesity and its treatment options and asked the following:

  • Before either topic is featured in future episodes, CBS contact the OAC to learn more on the issue
  • CBS feature obesity as part of ‘CBS Cares’ and work with OAC on developing valuable content

To read the full letter that the OAC sent CBS, CLICK HERE.

In addition to contacting CBS, the OAC also asked our Community Membership to sign-on to the letter and demonstrate the hurtful nature of the episode. We are empowered by our hundreds of members, as well as members of the public, who added their names and took OAC Action to end weight bias!

How CBS Responded:

Since then, the OAC is happy to share that we’ve received an official response from CBS regarding the episode of ‘Blue Bloods’ in which bariatric surgery was stigmatized. CBS has assured the OAC that Blue Bloods producers recognize that obesity is a disease affecting millions millions of Americans, and their intent was to have a thoughtful discussion on the episode and showcase how it impacts police officers.

CBS explained that producers also understand the complexity of obesity and the OAC’s concerns regarding the portrayal of bariatric surgery. CBS has stated that their was no intent to offend or create negative conversation around obesity or bariatric surgery.

CBS also expressed that Blue Bloods producers are open to working with the OAC to better understand obesity in the event the topic is featured in future episodes. The OAC is excited by this constructive dialogue and positive response to the issue, and looks forward to future opportunities to help educate CBS and others on obesity and its treatments.