Katy Perry took it to the courts in her video for latest single “Swish Swish” and, well, it’s certainly something. Part ode to the cult classic film Space Jam and part highlight reel of your favorite Who’s of the celebrity world (and Molly Shannon), the video is a pop culture melting pot.
It’s also a horribly uncomfortable, six-and-a-half-minute slap in the face to comedian Christine Sydelko, whose entire existence can be summed up as “fat girl eats things.” On Perry’s dream basketball team called Tigers, she and five other players are given nicknames that include “Pack Man” for the viral star Backpack Kid and “Hair Jordan” for model and choreographer Dexter Mayfield. Christine’s nickname, meanwhile, is “Shaquille O'Meals” and her special stat is “5.7 tacos per minute.” Get it? Meals. Eating. She’s fat. Cue laughter.
If you’re hoping the “joke” stops and ends there, prepare to be disappointed. Nearly every scene that Christine appears in after that shows her eating or drinking. We watch her eat a basketball, eat a taco, hold a bag of tacos while drinking out of a cup, burp up the aforementioned basketball that she ate, and force a taco into a rival player’s mouth, which she then eats out of his mouth while kissing him. Don’t worry though, at the end of the video when everyone is dancing, she’s allowed to appear in a scene showing joy while dancing without a single beverage or piece of food in her hand.
Shortly after the video dropped, Christine’s friend Elijah posted a series of since-deleted tweets about her role, which suggest that she didn't know she'd be relegated to the "fat girl" role in the video.
It’s worth noting that in her vlogs and on social media, Christine is quick to poke fun of herself and make jokes about food but, whether she was in on the joke or not, it’s a depressing reminder that fat shaming is still an easy joke to fall back on. Let’s hope that next time, Perry takes the advice of Minaj in the video and gets it together.