Jameela Jamil Called Out a New TV Show Where Judges Decide If Contestants "Deserve" Plastic Surgery
Jamil's concern is that the show will "prey on people's insecurities."
Aside from being one of the best parts of the show The Good Place, Jameela Jamil is a body-positive activist known for pointing out unrealistic beauty standards in celebrity/influencer culture. So, it comes as no surprise that the actress had some ~thoughts~ after learning about The Surjury, a new British reality series about people competing against one another to win free plastic surgery.
As the punny name suggests, The Surjury will feature contestants who must convince at least 75 percent of a jury that they "deserve" to get free plastic surgery.
"Welp. Black Mirror is officially happening guys. It's here," Jamil tweeted with a link to an article that called the show a "new low for television."
Jamil isn't the only one who thinks the show is controversial. Tijion Esho, a cosmetic surgeon, revealed he actually turned down a role in the show because of its insensitive premise: "I was cast as the doctor for this and declined after the press release told the full show premise," he wrote on Twitter. "I can't believe any ethical doctor would be involved." (Related: Instagram Is Banning All Filters That Give Any Effect of Plastic Surgery)
But the show's host, Caroline Flack, wasn't thrilled with Jamil's jab and snapped back with a tweet of her own, noting that the show hasn't even aired yet. "Have you managed to see a copy before me? Please forward .. [I] am desperate to see," she tweeted in response to Jamil.
Instead of responding to Flack directly, Jamil used Esho's tweet as a reference to explain why she decided to call out the new reality series.
"This is why I said it was like Black Mirror @carolineflack1," she wrote. "Because it's a VERY surreal concept that (perhaps unintentionally) will prey on people's insecurities. I think of the effect on teenagers [and] the messaging of this. Fingers crossed it doesn't affect anyone negatively."
In a separate tweet, Jamil emphasized her point by explaining that teenage cosmetic surgery, teenage suicide/self-harm, and teenage eating disorders are all growing trends. "This is why I never shut up. Fix it and I'll chill," she said. (Related: Could Social Media Drive You to Have Plastic Surgery?)
While it's clear that Jamil had good intentions in calling out the reality show, some people tried to blame her for coming after Flack. Jamil was quick to set the record straight, though.
"I didn't go for Caroline. I said the show sounded like Black Mirror, and Caroline came for me over it," she tweeted. "I was not criticizing her. She didn't create the show. I hope it doesn't cause adverse effects on young people. Reality TV is so insane these days. A jury judging bodies is wild." (Related: Jameela Jamil Helped Instagram Create a New Policy On the Promotion of Weight-Loss Products)
Of course, plastic surgery is a personal choice—one that doesn't deserve to be judged by those who aren't undergoing the procedure. Flack argued that point in response to Jamil, reminding her (and anyone else following the Twitter feud) that the contestants on the show were choosing to go under the knife and that they shouldn't be shamed for their decision.
"As you know self-image is a complicated, sensitive and personal subject," Flack shared. "At the heart of this show are people not contestants who have sought help to want to better themselves in their own eyes. Their stories deserve to be told and not ridiculed online."
Since being announced, The Surjury has already stirred up quite a bit of controversy, especially in the U.K.—so much so that Channel 4, where the show is set to air in England, had to defend the TV series shortly after it was announced. "Rather than wag a disapproving finger, this new series looks at who wants [plastic surgery], and why, and allows those who make a strong enough case to their peers, to undergo the procedure of their choice," a Channel 4 representative told The Sun in a statement. "The show will neither glamorize nor condemn their choices: The aim is instead to interrogate the realities."
The news channel also pointed out that everyone featured on the show had already "actively been seeking surgery of their own accord."
Considering The Surjury doesn't air until 2020, we'll have to wait and see whether the premise will be as dangerous and exploitative as everyone's imagining.