Renée Zellweger's fat suit in Pam Hupp role 'damaging' for plus-sized people, says critic

Renée Zellweger has received criticism for wearing a fat suit for her role as killer Pam Hupp

Renée Zellweger's fat suit costume slammed as 'damaging' by critics
(Image credit: Getty)

Renée Zellweger’s fat suit for a new TV role has received backlash from body-positivity activists, who have slammed the wardrobe choice as disrespectful to plus-sized people. 

The Oscar-winning actress was recently spotted in costume for her portrayal of real-life murderer Pam Hupp in The Thing About Pam—and not everyone is happy with what they've seen. 

Renée was almost unrecognizable on set of the upcoming NBC series, wearing a heavy fat suit beneath a white puffer jacket and a pair of loose jeans to emulate the infamous killer’s casual appearance. While some have praised the What/If actress’s physical transformation, others have raised concerns about the negative impact of thin people donning fat suits on screen. 

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One critic has branded Renée’s styling as damaging to the representation of plus-sized people in media, calling for an end to the casting of slim actors as overweight characters. The response comes a little over a month after Sarah Paulson shared regret over her fat suit in American Crime Story: Impeachment, in which she plays Monica Lewinsky’s former friend Linda Tripp. 

“A fat suit has always been a way of mocking fat people no matter who wears it, even if it is for an acting role,” writer Sarah Alexander told the Metro.co.uk. “Actors that have previously worn them (Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Paulson) have admitted they regret their choice in wearing one and that it causes harm.” 


Gwyneth Paltrow wore a fat suit for her portrayal of Rosemary in the controversial 2001 film, Shallow Hal, alongside Jack Black. She has since implied she wishes she hadn’t signed up for the comedy, calling it a ‘disaster’ in a 2020 Netflix interview with her assistant Kevin Keating.

Gwyneth Paltrow in Shallow Hal

(Image credit: Alamy)

“There are plenty of incredibly talented plus-size actresses that could have been hired for the role instead of Zellweger,” Sarah continued. “Why were they overlooked and a fat suit considered a viable option?” 

“For Zellweger to masquerade as a plus-size person is damaging, fatphobic, and potentially triggering to other plus-size people. It seems like she has not considered the effects this will have on fat people, and is unaware and/or naive that she is adding to the stigma fat people already face on a daily basis.” 

Emma Dooney
Emma Dooney

Emma is a news writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life. She covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health or lifestyle story. When she's not reporting on the British monarchy and A-list celebs, you can find her whipping up vegan treats and running the roads to cheesy '90s pop music...but not at the same time, obviously.