Most memes are good natured. We all teased Leonardo DiCaprio about not winning an Oscar, but really we all desperately wanted him to win one, right? Well, some memes, it would seem, are not so nice. On Monday night, the Lad Bible began circulating a fat-shaming meme featuring Wentworth Miller, most famous for playing Michael Schofield in the drama Prison Break. "When you break out of prison and find out about McDonald's monopoly..." was the caption, comparing below it two images of Miller: one from him in character as Michael Schofield, and one after a weight gain in 2010.
Not cool, Lad Bible. But Miller wasn't going to shy away. Instead, he penned an honest and moving response to the meme, detailing frankly his struggle with his mental health that ultimately led to his weight gain. Here's Miller's message in full:
Today I found myself the subject of an Internet meme. Not for the first time.
This one, however, stands out from the rest.
In 2010, semi-retired from acting, I was keeping a low-profile for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, I was suicidal.
This is a subject I've since written about, spoken about, shared about.
But at the time I suffered in silence. As so many do. The extent of my struggle known to very, very few.
Ashamed and in pain, I considered myself damaged goods. And the voices in my head urged me down the path to self-destruction. Not for the first time.
I've struggled with depression since childhood. It's a battle that's cost me time, opportunities, relationships, and a thousand sleepless nights.
In 2010, at the lowest point in my adult life, I was looking everywhere for relief/comfort/distraction. And I turned to food. It could have been anything. Drugs. Alcohol. Sex. But eating became the one thing I could look forward to. Count on to get me through. There were stretches when the highlight of my week was a favorite meal and a new episode of TOP CHEF. Sometimes that was enough. Had to be.
And I put on weight. Big f--king deal.
One day, out for a hike in Los Angeles with a friend, we crossed paths with a film crew shooting a reality show. Unbeknownst to me, paparazzi were circling. They took my picture, and the photos were published alongside images of me from another time in my career. "Hunk To Chunk." "Fit To Flab." Etc.
My mother has one of those "friends" who's always the first to bring you bad news. They clipped one of these articles from a popular national magazine and mailed it to her. She called me, concerned.
In 2010, fighting for my mental health, it was the last thing I needed.
Long story short, I survived.
So do those pictures.
Now, when I see that image of me in my red t-shirt, a rare smile on my face, I am reminded of my struggle. My endurance and my perseverance in the face of all kinds of demons. Some within. Some without.
Like a dandelion up through the pavement, I persist.
Anyway. Still. Despite.The first time I saw this meme pop up in my social media feed, I have to admit, it hurt to breathe. But as with everything in life, I get to assign meaning. And the meaning I assign to this/my image is Strength. Healing. Forgiveness.
Of myself and others.
If you or someone you know is struggling, help is available. Reach out. Text. Send an email. Pick up the phone. Someone cares. They're waiting to hear from you. Much love. - W.M.
Miller finished his open letter with a series of links to suicide prevention websites. The Lad Bible have since apologised for the meme. "We want to say we've got this very, very wrong. Mental health is no joke or laughing matter," they stated in an open letter to Miller, and also posted the links to the same suicide prevention websites. You can read their full response below.
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