The Demi Lovato Froyo Controversy Explained

Before we get into the Demi Lovato froyo controversy, please be aware that it includes some frank comments from Lovato about struggles with healthy eating, and it may be triggering to some. 

That being said, the essence of the controversy is that during a weekend in mid-April, the 28-year-old singer posted a series of Instagram blasts aimed at the way Los Angeles-based frozen yogurt shop The Bigg Chill had been marketing its offerings, which Lovato apparently felt was pandering to a toxic "diet culture" (via People).

It all began when Lovato — who is currently the subject of a YouTube docuseries titled Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil, in which she addresses a number of difficult personal topics, including disordered eating – stated she was "finding it extremely hard to order froyo from" The Bigg Chill because the store's setup requires customers to "walk past tons of sugar free cookies/other diet foods before you get to the counter." Along with the hashtag, #DietCultureVultures, Lovato asked The Bigg Chill to "do better please," presumably by those who struggle with eating disorders.

The Bigg Chill's response to Demi Lovato's criticism did not satisfy the star

After Demi Lovato posted an Instagram story in which she criticized The Bigg Chill, a Los Angeles-based frozen yogurt shop, for marketing practices that she felt were insensitive toward people with eating disorders, the shop reportedly responded to Lovato on its own Instagram account. The Bigg Chill pointed out that among their other "indulgent items," the store carries treats for people on restricted diets, such as diabetics and those with celiac disease, as well as people committed to veganism (via People).

The pop star's irritation was not assuaged, it seemed , because Lovato went on to post what appear to be screenshots of a direct message from The Bigg Chill, in which the froyo establishment defended their practices by saying, "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." 

Lovato's reply, which she also screenshot for her Instagram feed, re-upped her initial criticism, added that the service at the store was rude, and closed with, "Don't make excuses, just do better."

The Bigg Chill didn't respond, but later that day, Lovato posted a follow-up message that she sent to the store, in which she suggested the store might consider labeling the offerings for people on restricted diets as such: "Maybe it would help if you made it more clear," she wrote (via People).

Demi Lovato faced backlash for "bullying" a small business at a vulnerable time

What Demi Lovato may not have anticipated was that her testy exchange with The Bigg Chill, a Los Angeles-based froyo shop, would earn her backlash for "coming after a small business amid a global pandemic," (via Bustle). On April 19, when she realized her criticism was being characterized as "bullying," Lovato took to Instagram once again.

First, the star posted a story that read, "It's time the media stops gaslighting women who stand up for themselves." Two hours later, she posted an almost nine-minute-long video clarifying that she didn't intend to "bully a small business."

"I...was so triggered that I left without froyo, and it made me really sad," Lovato said. "As someone ... in recovery from an eating disorder, I still to this day have a hard time walking into a froyo shop ordering yogurt, being content with it, and keeping it down...I'm protective of the little girl inside of me that didn't get that representation at a young age of someone saying 'all of this diet stuff is not okay.'" 

Lovato then offered to work with The Big Chill to "help make it a safer environment for people with eating disorders."  

If you're struggling with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 crisis support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).