Is cancel culture coming for frozen yogurt? It’s a ridiculous question, but in recent weeks, a bizarre beef between Demi Lovato and The Bigg Chill has become a legit subject of debate. The pop star recently took issue with the LA fro-yo shop’s business practices, and everyone on social media has an opinion about it. Find out what exactly went down, and learn why the “Sorry Not Sorry” singer tried—and failed—to make an example out of a local dessert shop.
Demi Lovato Called Out The Bigg Chill For ‘Harmful Messaging’
Lovato’s complicated drama with The Bigg Chill began on April 19. The pop star—who has been candid about her battles with bulimia and addiction—had recently patronized the beloved frozen yogurt shop, presumably for an icy treat.
Instead, she wound up being the one to serve something cold. She took to Instagram stories and trounced on them for their diverse menu selection. Lovato claimed that sugar-free products were “triggering” to customers recovering from eating disorders.
“Finding it extremely hard to order Froyo from @TheBiggChillOfficial when you have to walk past tons of sugar-free cookies/other diet foods before you get to the counter,” she wrote. She implored the shop to “do better” and added the hashtag #DietCultureVultures.
About an hour later, Lovato turned her story into an opportunity for something bigger. “So I think I’m gonna have to make that hashtag a thing. I will be calling harmful messaging from brands or companies [sic] that prepetuate [sic] a society that not only enables but praises disordered eating.”
How The Bigg Chill Responded To Demi Lovato’s Outrage
The Bigg Chill provided a cool, level-headed response to Lovato via Instagram DM. They explained that their options allowed people with a range of dietary restrictions—gluten-free, celiac disease, diabetes, etc.—to enjoy their ice cream alternative.
“We are not diet vultures,” read the message. “We cater to all of our customers needs for the past 36 years. We are sorry you found this offensive.”
But the singer was nowhere near satisfied with their explanation. She posted a screen grab of their message exchange with the caption “Since y’all wanna keep this going.”
“The whole experience was triggering and awful,” read a portion of her own extensive reply. “You can carry things for other people while also caring for another percentage of your customers who struggle DAILY just to even step foot in your store.”
“Don’t make excuses,” she added, “just do better.”
Lovato seemed to have genuine intentions, but her message didn’t land. Instead, fans of The Bigg Chill rallied around the decades-old shop.
“I’m going to come and support!” gossip blogger Perez Hilton wrote on one of their Instagram posts. “My fam loves fro-yo, especially my mother. She’s diabetic and appreciates sugar free options. Thank you for providing that!”
“Love you guys, and hate the haters,” added Entourage creator Doug Ellin. “Keep making amazing products that are available to all.”
Patrick Schwarzenegger forcefully chimed in, “I WILL CONTINUE EATING BIG CHILL TILL THE DAY I GO DOWN!”
Demi Lovato Eventually Apologized
Lovato eventually walked back her comments about The Bigg Chill in a now-deleted Instagram video. But she maintained that diet culture has toxic effects on people with eating disorders.
“I’m standing up for anyone who struggles in LA,” she said. “This is a hard thing to live with on a daily basis. My intuition said speak up about this, so I did. And I feel good about that. What I don’t feel good about is some of the way it’s been interpreted and how the message has gotten misconstrued.”
“I’m human, and I talk about my struggles, she added. “And I’m passionate so I’m sorry that I got the messaging wrong.”
Demi Did Not Donate $100K To The Bigg Chill
Because the internet is the internet, the one-sided feud refused to die. In fact, disrupters went as far as to create fake news about it.
Over the last week, misinformation about Lovato’s response spread like wildfire on social media. Someone invented a false claim that the singer issued a formal apology and sizable donation to The Bigg Chill for her misdeeds. There were also fake DMs doctored to look like they were written by the store.
But the shop set the record straight in their own Instagram story.
“To those of you asking: We have not received any donations from Demi’s team,” a store rep wrote. “Nor do we want one. We have not made any changes to our menu. We have not heard anything from Demi since her ‘Sorry, not sorry’ apology on Monday. We have not heard from her team.”
The Bigg Chill owner Cary Russell told the Los Angeles Times that she was “shocked” and “hurt” by what transpired.
“I couldn’t believe that she would attack us like that,” said Russell. “All she had to do is pick up the phone and call me. I would have had a conversation with her and probably handled it and felt differently about it. But I felt like she just came at us and wanted to fight and accused us of things that weren’t right.”
The Feud Backfired For Demi And Boosted Business For The Bigg Chill
Lovato’s misguided efforts to address the dangers of diet culture blew up in her face. Social media came for her and explained the difference between helping eating disorder victims and canceling a small business.
Others simply used it as an excuse to make snide remarks:
The singer has also paid the price in followers. According to SocialTracker, her Instagram following plummeted every day between April 17 and 28.
Meanwhile, it’s not just business as usual at The Bigg Chill. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, the publicity has actually caused a bump in sales. Their Instagram following also skyrocketed from about 6,000 to 42,000 followers in less than a week.
“I heard that there was a big commotion … on Twitter, and I just wanted to show my support,” one customer told the outlet. He added that Lovato seemed to miss “the big picture” when she decided to make a cause out of her experience.
“I think [Lovato] was attacking the … wrong thing,” said another customer. “If you want to come for diet culture, maybe go for the corporations who make millions off of it and not the small, local businesses who are just trying to get by during a pandemic.”