Over the weekend, Lovato called out Los Angeles fro-yo shop The Bigg Chill on her Instagram Stories, where she said that it is “extremely hard” to order from the store because “you have to walk past tons of sugar-free cookies/ other diet foods before you get to the counter”.
On her post, the singer then encouraged the frozen yoghurt store to “do better please” before adding the hashtag #dietculturevultures.
In another post, the 28-year-old said she would be using the hashtag to call out other “harmful messaging from brands or companies that perpetuate a society that not only enables but praises disordered eating”.
However, the fro-yo shop has since defended itself from the criticism on the company’s Instagram Stories, where it shared a photo of Lovato’s post and said that it carries the items to cater to a range of customers, such as those who are diabetic or have celiac disease, or are vegan.
“And of course [offer] many indulgent items as well,” The Bigg Chill added.
The store also sent a message directly to the Sorry Not Sorry singer, which Lovato shared on her Instagram Stories, in which it wrote: “We are not diet vultures. We cater to all of our customers’ needs for the past 36 years. We are sorry you found this offensive.”
In response to the message, Lovato accused the frozen yoghurt company of having “terrible service” and being “so rude,” with the singer adding that the “whole experience was triggering and awful”.
“You can carry things for other people while also caring for another per centage of your customers who struggle DAILY just to even step foot in your store,” she continued. “You can find a way to provide an inviting environment for all people with different needs. Including eating disorders - one of the deadliest mental illnesses only second to (opioid) overdoses. Don’t make excuses, just do better.”
Lovato has been open about her past struggles with disordered eating, with the former Disney star revealing in 2020 how her eating disorder impacted herwhile filming the television show Sonny with a Chance.
The singer has also spoken candidly about being in recovery from an eating disorder, writing on Instagram in December that she used to believe “recovery from an eating disorder wasn’t real,” but has since become proof that it is possible.
In a follow-up post on her Instagram Stories, Lovato also offered The Bigg Chill some suggestions about how it could be more “clear” with its messaging and labelling so as to not appear as if it is promoting “diet culture”.
“I was thinking, maybe it would help if you made it more clear that the sugar-free options and vegan options are for that,” she wrote in a message to the store. “Labelling the snacks for celiac or diabetes or vegans.”
According to the pop star, the labelling could be helpful because when it’s “not super clear, the messaging gets confusing and being in LA, it’s really hard to distinguish diet culture vs health needs”.
“I think clearer messaging would be more beneficial for everyone,” she continued. “You aren’t wrong for catering to many different needs but it’s about not excluding one demographic to cater to others.”
On Twitter, the interaction between Lovato and the frozen yoghurt store prompted a range of reactions, with some fans questioning why the singer attacked the store publicly while appearing to forget that some people have different dietary restrictions.
“What’s your favourite internet beef, rn mine is Demi lovato forgetting diabetics exist and fighting a frozen yogurt business in public,” one person tweeted.
Another said: “I was sooo not prepared for a Demi Lovato vs Bigg Chill feud. As someone who has always struggled with/had issues with food, I like that Bigg Chill has so many options for different dietary needs. I love their vegan cookie dough! Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.”
This is not the first time that Lovato has called out a company for being “harmful” and promoting diet culture. In 2019, she criticised a video game ad for Game of Sultans after it portrayed two characters, with one labelled “obese” and the other labelled “pretty”.
“This is absolutely harmful to anyone who is easily influenced by societal pressures put on us from the diet culture to constantly be losing weight in a world that teaches us to equate our value and worth with the way we look and especially anyone in recovery from an eating disorder,” the singer said at the time.