Cosmopolitan Magazine publishes headline calling cancer a diet

Headline later edited

In the latest case of clickbait going awry, social media went ablaze when it was found that a Cosmopolitan article called “How This Woman Lost 44 Pounds Without *ANY* Exercise” was discovered to link to a piece talking about a woman diagnosed with a cancer. The picture linked to the article was a fit woman in a pink crop top, further tricking clickers into believing the story would talk about diets of some sort. Cosmopolitan deleted the tweet promoting the article later, but screenshots of the tweet remain for everyone’s perusal.

The story itself has not been removed from Cosmopolitan‘s website, but its headline has been edited to read, “A Serious Health Scare Helped Me Love My Body More Than Ever”. The article tells the story of 31-year-old Simone Harbinson, a woman from Melbourne, Australia who’s dealt with a partial lung collapse, PTSD and a damaged disc in her back in addition to cancer. The article ends with her weight loss based on a diet called “The Bod”. According to her, the diet helped her to lose 44 pounds without having to resort to using the gym. The connection that led to the controversial headline was that the detection of cancer led her to discover this diet.

Regardless, the Twitter reaction was fierce. Alison Betof, a Manhattan cancer doctor, said, “I’m horrified. How incredibly disrespectful and insensitive. You owe a lot of patients an apology.” Anne Hogan, a cancer survivor, told the magazine, “Hey @Cosmopolitan, hate to break it to you, but cancer’s not a [fool]proof diet. I’ve gained weight on chemo. Mega bummer, amirite?!” Other Internet users pointed out the public relations disaster and its close proximity to the recent United Airlines fiasco. One tweeter put it this way: “United: ‘We are having the worst week ever!’ Cosmopolitan: Amateurs. Step aside.” Other than editing the title, Cosmopolitan has yet to comment publicly on the matter.

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