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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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He should have stayed on his flight where he appropiately purchased two seats...

Coming soon to an airline near you, charging for the seat plus a fuel surcharge for your total weight... sorry but it does cost more fuel.

What will SWA use as a commercial... Grab your ass, it's on.

I have repeatedly had my back hurt and had chiropractic work necessary because of someone so overweight that they took up half of my seat that I paid for in addition to their own.

THANK YOU Southwest. From now on I will ONLY fly Southwest Airlines whenever available.

It is extreme arrogance for the overweight to believe themselves entitled to my seat free of change to injure their seatmates!

I think you guys are missing the point. Smith isn't upset at the "too fat to fly" rule. He's upset at the fact that by Southwest's own standards, HE IS THIN ENOUGH TO FLY IN ONE SEAT!!! What he's upset about is Southwest was using the "fat rule" as the excuse to boot him off, when clearly there was another reason that nobody is sharing. On top of that they lied about the reasons every step of the way. Secondly, he's upset that they humiliated another large person sitting in his row on the next flight when there was nobody sitting next to her. Southwest just needs to grow a pair and own up to their screw up.

I love Kevin Smith, but I've also been squeezed into my seat by an extremely obese traveler before (I'm 5'6" and about 118#). Let me tell you, it's no fun getting squished into 2/3 of your own seat for 5 hours, by your fat neighbor, while flying cross-country.

If your luggage is over-sized, you have to check it. If your butt is over-sized, you need to buy 2 seats. Sorry, but otherwise, you're imposing on your neighbor.

Peace out.

If you take up two seats then pay for two seats.
Airlines should charge by the pound but should not deny people service based on their girth.

Yeah, some people are SO revolting! A pervasive lack of regard for others by encroaching into my space and privacy borders on the reprehensible. Such intrusion into the lives of us regular unsuspecting folks minding our own business should be banned as a violation of individual rights.

I'm talking about these fat hater bigots, by the way, not fat people. The amount of raw intolerance and hate displayed here by this paper and those commenting is disgusting, although perhaps not so surprising coming from ubershallow Hollywoodland. You'd think these BMI-supremacists were referring to criminal acts like public masturbation or slinging excrement on fellow passengers rather than needing some extra elbow room.

The facts of this story, so conveniently dismissed by this article, are plain. Smith shouldn't have been kicked off the plane. Despite airline seats having been narrowed to cram more people on a plane, the guy DID fit in his seat, buckled his belt and put the armrest down. Nobody sat next to him, nobody complained. End of story. Even if he had, people could try being just a TAD compassionate. You never know when you might wind up 'imposing' on someone else, regardless of what you eat or how much you exercise. People don't become less worthy of respect when their body mass goes up.

anyone who feels sorry for him has never had to sit next to a fat cow on a plane and suffer for hours. if you're too fat to fly, maybe put down the cheeseburger loser

I think fair reporting dictates that we need to see a picture of Kevin's world-record sized arse so we can determine for ourselves if SouthWest Airlines was or was not right to eject it from the plane. Aircraft, after all, have their limitations and I certainly wouldn't want Mr. Smith's giant posterior causing the floor to buckle or, worse, bust right though. Come on, Kevin, let's have it!

I fly a lot. I pay for a seat and expect to be able to use it all and not share it with anyone else. Call me selfish...

"Don't want to be a fat man, people would think that I was just good fun,
would rather be a thin man, I am so glad to go on being one,
too much to carry around with you,
no chance of finding a woman who,
will love you in the morning and all the night time too..."-Jethro Tull

Maybe if the dude lost some weight he might get laid and then he wouldn't be the ranting raving lunatic piggyman that he is...just an idea.

I suggest all of you morons who are responding with ignorant, hate-filled, venomous diatribes against Kevin Smith actually bother to know what you're talking about before you spout off with your stupid comments. I highly recommend listening to SModcast (Kevin Smith's podcast) from February 13, when he discusses what happened with his wife. It might shine some light on his perspective and what took place.

In all honesty I don't know what else the airline is expected to do. You purchase a ticket to occupy one regulation size seat that is clearly set in advance. If you are so large as to inhibit the space of another paying customer, it is your problem, and either you need to pay for more space, or you have to get off the plane.

I really don't want to read any more articles about fat people complaining about their problems, or about discrimination. If you realize your life is too tough being overweight, (a situation which should be noted you brought about for yourself) then pull your act together, learn a little self-discipline and get to a weight where you no longer feel discriminated against. Problem solved.

To continue this along the thread of the current national health care debate, it's because of people like Kevin Smith that my healthcare costs are through the roof. Every time a person who has sat on the couch and stuffed himself with oreos for 20 years has heart failure, or gets diabetes, my rates go up. Don't think I give a crap if your feelings were hurt cause you got kicked off a plane. You know how America can fix this problem? You decide 20% of your health insurance premiums solely on a body fat test. Every 6 months, you get your body fat tested and your results go to your insurance provider. You set the ideal percentage at between 5-10% for men, and a couple points higher for women (because of our density differences). Also, you don't want to set it %'s below 5 so that you're not accidentally pushing people to develop eating disorders. Then you incrementally raise the ranges to (again using men as the example) something like 11-15%, and so on, with the costs rising as the fat rises. You want to see people get thin again? They will when they have a strong financial incentive to do so.

He needs to stop tweeting about his hurt feelings and go for a long fast paced walk. If he ate less and exercised more he wouldn't be obese, wouldn't risk making the passenger sitting next to him miserable and would feel better all around. I don't feel the least bit sorry for him. He makes mediocre movies so the worlds airlines have to accommodate him and inconvenience everyone else?

Wow, Just look at the discrimination coming out in these comments. The narrow minded Me-Me's have covered Obesity, Alcoholism, Smoking, and all seem to believe that their luck in the genetic lottery makes them superior.

Perhaps they should take a history lesson about demonizing people due to their differences. I seem to recall a lesson about world war 2 that talked about hating people because of their differences, back before they took the real history books away.

On a positive note, It would seem that all the money that Wall Street and the Feds spent brainwashing all of you into repeat sheep is working.

Read this as many times at it takes to stick in your brains... You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Go on Nutri-System; go exercise, and go get a body bugg,

I blame the airline. All airlines and bus companies and train operators etc. have been consistently increasing the number of seats and reducing the spaces around them in order to generate more revenue per trip. There was a time when coaches had one wide seat on one side of the bus and two wide seats on the other with leg room enough to recline comforatbly. Now they have four narrow seat across and about seven inches from seat front to seat back and, I'm sorry, but if you're six-feet three or above, there is NO WAY you can fit comforatbly in them. Your legs end up out in the aisle or on your neighbors side because there is no frickin room in front and that's regardless of how much you weigh. If sharing space bothers you, don't travel. If you can use your car to get there, maybe that's the conveyance for you. Otherwise, complain to the jerks that took your money than unapologetically stuck you and 299 other people in a plane built for 200.

Reply to Saf Rahman: What a hoot. "You see, anytime I fly to the US or Canada, I get crammed between two giant, American cow-beasts whose bulging lard expands well into the seat I rightfully purchased. Any company or company owner deserves the freedom to refuse service to a giant, disgusting American tub-of-lard." Per the British Heart Foundation: In the UK around 43% of men and 33% of women are overweight, and a further 22% of men and 23% of women fall into the obese category. This means that over half of the population is overweight! And although the percentage of overweight and obese people is increasing all over the world, the rate is especially high in the United Kingdom - the percentage of the population which is overweight has increased by 50% in the last 10 years. (BHF) As people get older, the tendency to become overweight increases and amongst the British population in the age group 64-75 the percentage is staggering - 77% of men and 71% of women! I lived in your skinny country for two years, and I saw enough beer-swilling, bangers and mash eating, chocoholic tubs of lard to put any country in the world to shame. I think this story gave you a typically British chance to go American-bashing. Jolly good, old chap! Stay in your wonderfully thin British resort!

There are far bigger issues in this country than obesity, and these comments show that glaringly-in spades. The internet has easily provided a way to spew out hate, misery, anger, and a complete lack of any restraint, under the cloak of anonymity. Good for you all! I have to walk among you, wondering if the guy in the desk next to me is one of you. Closet a--hole who doesn't have the guts to spew his hate in "real life" so spews it onto his laptop every night. Pathetic.
Most of you shame and disgust me. I'm not overweight, but recently, I annoyed one (ONE!) person in a doctor's office and was asked not to wear my perfume anymore. Everyone stared at me as if I were a murderer, it was completely humiliating.
So, tell me then, where does it end? We should all look like disgusting plastic clones who don't speak or act in fear of retribution and insults? How so very high school. You should be ashamed of yourselves for spwing such hate towards another human being who you don't even know.
Speaks more volumes about you then it does Kevin Smith, who, btw, is a pretty funny, talented guy who has brought hours and hours of humor into our home. Thanks, dude.
Such a sad commentary this forum is of what we've become. Sexist, racist, intolerant, red or blue state miserable folk. Where does it go from here...? What's left..?

I was watching Clerks last night and was shocked to see how normal-sized Kevin Smith was once upon a time. now that he's turned into Orson Welles without portfolio, maybe he should go back to playin' hockey.

How about this if you are concerned about being crowded on a plane do to an overweight person, a mother with her babies, or the random rude person try this.....FLY FIRST CLASS!!!!

The problem here isn't that the guy is too big--it's that he's too small. It's not his body that's small--it's his mind. He's so small-minded, so shallow, that he can't understand why rules that apply to everybody else apply to him as well. He needs to shrink his body and grow his brain.

I think most people fail to realize that Mr. Smith is using this issue as a tool to promote himself and his film. Frankly, I've never heard of him and I'm sure few have as well. As to the issue he is whining about, I would complain loudly if a fat person sat next to me on a plane and occupied my space as well as there's. The issue may be a big deal, but Mr. Smith certainly is not.

Must you journalists, whose craft is words, append "gate" to every problem or scandal? There are adults who were not born when the actual Watergate scandal broke! Perhaps you could at least be original and use teapot or dome once in awhile.

Why fly Southwest Cattle Transport anyway? Kevin can afford Business class on a REAL airline, which would give him a bit of privacy and keep him away from the cheapskate whiny little people back in steerage.

Or he could take Jet Blue? Sure limited flight paths, but EVERY SEAT is business class, and usually far less expensive than Southwest Bulk Cargo. There ARE alternatives to Southwest! Avoid the skanky skid-row urine scented oxcart of the skies, and find an airline that buys planes that are not 35 year old retreads with filthy worn out plastic interiors, caca stained 8 inch wide Street Urchin class seating and drunkard pilots who make 13 bucks an hour.

Just because people want to be haters does not mean we need to humiliate people. This episode was handled poorly by SWA and Kevin Smith has every right to discuss it.

What's sad is the amount of anger directed at him for being humiliated. This country is just angry and looking to get more angry for any reason. You make me sad, and I only weight 170 pounds.

Maybe you hater should gain some weight and try to be jolly!

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