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Kevin Smith's pre-'Fatgate' admission: 'I broke a toilet.'

February 15, 2010 |  4:58 pm


At first glance, there wouldn’t seem to be a lot of obvious upsides to Kevin Smith’s getting ejected from a Southwest Airlines flight for being too fat. Even if the director ranks among Twitter’s hottest trending topics, significantly goosing the number of media mentions for his new action-comedy, “Cop Out,” which hits theaters on Feb. 26.

But while the incident — and Smith’s subsequent Tweakout about the ordeal, dubbed “Fatgate” —  continues to generate headlines worldwide, it’s not the first time the “Clerks” writer-director has suffered an ignominious, weight-related embarrassment just days before theatrically releasing a new movie.

In 2008, just before the roll-out of his under-performing romantic comedy “Zach and Miri Make a Porno,” Smith suffered a similar humiliation: He admitted that his self-described “morbid obesity” had been responsible for the destruction of a household appliance. And then, as now, he milked it for all it was worth on his blog and in interviews.

“I broke a toilet,” he told The Times. “That’s how heavy I am. I can’t take all the credit. That was an old toilet and a very water-logged wall. But still, there’s no excuses, dude. I cannot cognitively reframe it and be like, ‘It wasn’t me. It was the toilet.’ It was definitely me! And that’s a wake-up call.”

Asked why he would volunteer such a potentially embarrassing story about himself, Smith demurred. “It’s a good story,” he said. “It’s tough not to tell even though I’m the fat clown at the center of it. Putting it out there is saying, ‘I get it. I understand.’ ”

In the immediate aftermath of the director’s Twitter tirade, various blogs weighed in on the matter. Gawker.com hailed the director’s Tweakout as “the best thing Kevin Smith has written since ‘Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.’ ” TMZ, meanwhile, observed “Southwest Should Fit Wide Loads” in its headline about the incident.

Although it is too soon to gauge Smith’s impact on Southwest’s bottom line, anecdotal evidence suggests that he has galvanized his Twitter constituency by vilifying the airline’s treatment of Customers of Size.

“Wanna tell me I’m too wide for the sky? Totally cool,” Smith tweeted Saturday. “But fair warning folks: IF YOU LOOK LIKE ME, YOU MAY BE EJECTED FROM @SouthwestAir.”

The response from many of Smith’s followers has been unequivocal.

On Sunday, one named @chaseronio likened the director to no less than Martin Luther King Jr. in a tweet: “Ur the MLK of fatties."

“I have a Dream,” Smith twittered back with deadpan aplomb. “And two lunches (meatball parm & Trix). And a couple of Twinkies. And a Diet Coke.”

-- Chris Lee


POLL: Kevin Smith vs. Southwest Airlines

Photo of Kevin Smith by Jay L. Clendenin for the Los Angeles Times.

Comments () | Archives (137)

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For Kevin, it's all about the publicity and the money (always follow the money trail). No worries folks. Statistics show that Kevin will die prematurely due to his obesity and unchecked lifestyle choices. So we won't be talking about him forever. It's a really selfish way to live, as I'm sure he has loved ones who would like him to be around a while. He's a horrible example to anyone who needs to hear the truth about diet & exercise and how it's directly tied into quality of life and longevity.

Kevin Smith has made some good movies but it doesn't negate the fact that there is something way off kilter here. When are people going to realize that being fat is gross, un healthy, disgusting, and fatties shouldn't be allowed to fly at all. I had to sit next to someone who wasn't even very big from Vienna to LA and I had to lean over to accomodate this fat-ass for 14 hours. I thought I had broken my back when the flight was finished. Fat people should be sold seat width by the inches and by the mile. New planes should be constructed for them: ones with benches to be sold by the inch of girth width. Flying is bad enough as it is. I don't want to be next to fatties on the plane. Don't let them board.

What's with all the haters? These comments I'm reading are unbelievably appalling. How can anyone in this day and age say such awful things against fellow human beings for no reason other than their physical appearance? These sound like comments based on ignorance.

The full story is that Kevin Smith was already seated on the plane with the seatbelt fastened and the arm rests down as per SW safety regulations. The fact that Kevin Smith usually purchases two tickets at time AND that he's overweight are two unrelated details. According to his own words he buys two tickets because they're cheap enough, he can afford it, and it gives him a little bit of privacy on the plane.

Christ, if I hear the phrase "person of size" one more time, I'm going to hurl my breakfast. Being fat is a CHOICE. Just like religion, vegetarianism, and reproducing. I'm sick to death of people trying to deflect responsibility for their personal decisions by jumping on the civil rights bandwagon. Put down the twinkie, get on the stair master, and shut the **** up.

You pretentious LA wannabes think you can trash talk Kevin Smith just 'cuz you have a plastic surgeon on speed dial who will liposuck the fat outta your useless bellies. He's accomplished more than most of you ever will, your only claim to fame will be that you posted on the LA Times forum in response to his post. You'll go back to your job as servers hoping someone will throw a script your way, but ultimately fail like every other food server in LA. LA is a nothing town full of nobodies who think they're more than they are. Who are you to judge and tell Kevin Smith, who has actually accomplished something, that he doesn't get to think more of himself? All you'll ever amount to is a $10 tip at the end of a meal, nothing more. But at least you'll be skinny, that's better than being a fat failure, right? It's the only thing most of you pathetic losers will ever have.

dude, you're a dead man walking. you think with the holly thing and your age you got it made but the fag and the fat will eventually bite you in the butt. okay, it's your life and you can do what you want. i get it, eat the twinkies and don't take personal responsibility. tell it to larry king. just make sure you suck in the smoke and don't blow it out, wear a girdle when you board a plane so the fat doesn't spill into my seat, and don't expect the gov to pay your medical when the cardiac kicks in. otherwise, peace out.

Talentless hack.

What about the passenger, probably in a middle seat, who has to squeeze in with an "overlapping" neighbor? Doesn't that person have a right to their own space?

Does a person, large enough to require two seats, have the right to usurp the space of another passenger? Would you think it fair to force a restaurant to provide two meals for someone because they're large and need to eat a lot? Airlines are not buffets.

I think any airline is within its rights and, in fact, is obligated to monitor the situation for the sake of every passenger.

It's a terrible situation for an airline who doesn't want to deal with this but, for the sake of other passengers, it must be done.

Suckers all of you.

He is simply milking it. He has a movie coming out on the 26th and now he has the New York times giving him free publicity. This has nothing to do with Southwest, but with Kevin Smith looking for a way to sell more tickets.

And for those who argue: he said he could put both arm rests down. Yeah, of course he would NEVER misstate anything involved in the incident. He said it, it must be the facts.

Southwest should send him a bill for the free publicity he is now getting for his film.

It isn't about race and ethnicity. It's about paying for a full seat on an airline, only to end up losing a quarter of said seat to some fat tub of lard who can't lay off the midnight Ginger Ale and Doritos binges.

I SUPPORT Southwest Airlines in their decision, and if the fatties will stop patronizing them -- seriously stop, I might fly them again.

I stopped flying in Southwest and America West because of the very high chance of having to suffer through a flight sitting next to them.

There is nothing worse than stepping out of a flight -- even 1 hour flights, with your whole left side, or right side, and sometimes both sides of your body covered in warm sweat from the grossly overweight person sitting next to you.

Kevin, loose some weight you lard ass...oh and by the way, your movies are not that funny to non-New Jersey, disenfranchised, idiots.

Dylan: The guy purchased two seats on a prior flight, thus acknowledging his obeseness. This particular flight had only one seat left which he chose to take.

I am also fat and I hate it (being fat). Though I am not as fat as Kevin Smith.

I don't understand why he did not fly business class (bigger seats) or 1st class (really big seats)?

If he is such a hot shot director, then cough up the money for a bigger seat, dude!

Better yet, cough up the money for a personal trainer or a good chef who can cook healthy food for you.

>> You idiots should read the original article... no part of his body was occupying more than one seat...

I've seen this guy and I can guarantee you that he's a multi-seat individual. There is no physical way that he can squeeze into a single seat without infringing on his fellow row mates.

I've been forced to sit next to large people on flights before and let me tell you, it's not pleasant to absorb someone else's sweat because they are bulging into my seat.

Thank you SouthWest for sticking to your policy.

welcome to my world people!

I would hardly be proud of being so fat that you broke a toilet. Fatgate should be stupidity gate.

Wow, slanted article! What's the matter, did you ask for an interview and he turned you down? Boohoo. Now try fact checking -- he was not asked to leave because he was too fat, he was asked to leave because the flight crew figured he might have purchased both seats for that reason and he was standby anyway, so screw him. He can sit in the seat, arm rests down and without an extender - just like a "normal" person. Now, please try and justify your cruddy reporting and lack of actually doing any reporting or fact checking. All that said, while Smith's situation ended up not having anything to do with his weight really, god forbid I ever get heavy enough to "justify" the enforcement of this policy and the flight crew handles it like they did with him.

I am an obese woman and it sucks. For those of you who have never suffered with a weight problem - please don't be so quick to judge. It can be a disease for some people. It is not for me, but I have some medical conditions that make it very difficult to exercise regularly. It isn't like I got fat overnight. It was a gradual process that involved eating the same calories as when I was a very active person and not being educated as to calories levels, fat intake etc.

This past year I have lost 15 pounds. I have a goal of another 15-20 pounds this year. My doctors have advised me to take weight loss slow and steady, that putting on the weight took 10 years and it will take at least 1/2 the time to come off. But would someone sitting next to a plane know how hard I have worked this past year? Should I never get to travel while I am losing weight that might take me a few years to get off? Even when you fit between the "armrests" as a big person, you still feel like you are infringing on someones personal space. Do you think we obese people like that feeling? Just like skinny people, we don't always have the cash to buy two seats while we lose our weight.

That person on the airline seat next to you may very well be going through a weight loss journey and making fantastic strides. No, maybe our society shouldn't "accomodate" bigger sized people. But I feel so happy to have work out clothes that fit me, so people don't make fun of my rolls when I do work out in public or at the gym - trying being obese and going to the gym! You are more likely to get laughed out by all the buff muscle guys than you are to get any kind of support. Thank goodness for fashionable work clothes so I can feel like a productive member of society and not an outcast and to have handicap toilets so I don't have to be embarrassed to take care of my personal needs.

For the person making comments about "Fat Americans" as I am married to an English person, I can say that England has practically the same demographic as America and flying to England this Christmas was a testament to England's oversized. We all have the same issues - easy access fast foods, giant portions and tons of unheatlhy food made for "convenience."

Sorry Kevin Smith (and Michael Moore) but you two complainers need to take your health seriously and lose some weight. I don't want to hear ANYTHING else. I am sick of having my flights arm rests stolen by some fat arm and having my obese plane-neighbor's bodily excess fall all over into MY seat. There's no room as it is. It's very frustrating and acutely uncomfortable and I THANK SOUTHWEST AIRLINES for their courageous move because, due to fat people NOT liking to be seen exercising, they won't lose lbs on their own volition so if the airlines indirectly engender people losing weight I'm for it. Kevin Smith is a hack and not a bona fide artist and is using this situation to gain publicity. Dude, you're enormous; get a grip on reality and use your 'Clerks' royalties and hire a trainer and treat yourself like you're worthy!

Sorry, but it doesn't matter if you're Famous Kevin Smith or Unfamous Joe Blow; if you're too frickin fat to fit in the seat, you shouldn't inflict your over-indulgence on your neighbors.

Southwest was absolutely right to kick KS off the plane.

You have every right to be fat. But you better be ready to pay for it, not only in food and medical bills, but in airline and movie tickets, and anywhere else your piggishness impacts others.

Don't create some bogus "rights" movement. Its just as valid as smoker's "right" to inflict their disease on others.

"it’s not the first time the “Clerks” writer-director has suffered an ignominious, weight-related embarrassment just days before theatrically releasing a new movie."

I think that sentence kind of sums up the situation.

I think Southwest did the right thing. I am overweight, and luckily still fit comfortably in one seat. I had a family member that did not, and when I flied with her it was the most uncomfortable trip of my life. THe next time we flew, I made her purchase two tickets. Who cares if you're embarrassed? I want to sit in the seat I paid for, not in 1/2 of the seat I paid for.

Now that I know Southwest will hold people to this, I am an even bigger fan of the airline. Thank you Southwest. Sure, Americans have an epidemic of obesity, and as I said, I am overweight, but that epidemic does not give any fat person the right to share a seat with someone else, who did not get a 1/2 price fare or a refund for sharing against their will.

Further proof of the depth to which our culture has sunk and it seems always to be related to the entertainment industry and the media. They feed on each other.

Kevin who?

While we are on the subject of flyers whose mere physical presence intrudes upon the entitlements of others, can we please keep infants off airplanes? Their squawling coupled with seemingly retarded parents who mewl and coddle over them surely intrude upon the rightful purchase of space and quiet that I made.

Actually, can we simply enact restrictions so that only slim, single, goodlooking people between the ages of 21 and 39 are allowed to fly? That way, it will finally become the flying singles bar I've always wanted, and I'll be sure to have a better experience. Because, after all, it is all and only about me.

Oh, and no more laptops on planes. Except mine. They take up too much space.

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