Fat-shamer Donovan Tooth breaks his silence after receiving death threats

He and his family have received death threats after his body-shaming rant, and his company has promised to take action but will he have to discipline himself?

21 September 2020 - 16:03
By Jeff Wicks
Donovan Tooth, of Somerset West in Cape Town, is in hot water after a body-shaming rant went viral.
Image: Donovan Tooth - Instagram Donovan Tooth, of Somerset West in Cape Town, is in hot water after a body-shaming rant went viral.

Donovan Tooth — the man behind a fitness clothing brand and an expletive-riddled rant aimed at “overweight” women that went viral at the weekend — has gone to ground amid threats on his life.

In a self-filmed video which was posted to Instagram and later deleted, the 28-year-old tore into society’s acceptance of plus-sized models.

“I am so sick and tired of people making as if these overweight little hippos are perfect and there is nothing wrong with them,” Tooth said.

The amateur bodybuilder is the face of gym apparel company Panda, which released a statement in the wake of his outburst.

“Panda Clothing and its shareholders disassociates itself from the derogatory post which was an attack on the female form. It is unacceptable, shameful and has no place in Panda’s value system,” it reads.

“[The company] offers an apology for the widespread hurt that was caused and an internal review process and disciplinary procedure has been initiated.” 

But this could see Tooth having to discipline himself. According to publicly available documents, Tooth is the sole director of Panda Clothing. Formed in 2017, no other directors have ever had a hand in the firm.

Sunday Times Daily requested a copy of Panda’s share register, but no response had been forthcoming at the time of publishing.

Tooth also refused to answer pointed questions on the internal review and disciplinary process.

I have gotten death threats … My family have gotten threats … I am getting attacked.
Donovan Tooth.

What he did say was that he had received threats on his life since the offensive video clip went viral.

“I have gotten death threats ... My family have gotten threats ... I am getting attacked,” he said.

He added that his cellphone number had been leaked and he had been inundated with calls and messages.

“It is truly and honestly horrible,” he said.

The backlash has also swept across social media, with nearly 3,000 people coming together on a Facebook group titled “Donovan Tooth must fall”. In it, women shared pictures and stories about their struggles with self-image and being overweight.

Landi van de Venter, a 35-year-old woman, said Tooth's video was triggering.

“The thing is, all the things he said, I say to myself daily. But he triggered something inside me and I can't stop thinking about all his remarks,” reads an excerpt from her post. She urged parents “to keep a close eye on your children” as insensitive remarks can push some people over the edge.

Another Facebook user, Elsu Gericke, said Tooth's ideal weight is not an option for her as she struggles with her insulin levels.

“I've always been overweight because of a health issue that has been a hell of a road. I literally have to eat nothing and gym eight hours a day if I want to look anywhere close to what the ideal is,” she wrote in part.

These came as those behind the group called for a boycott of his clothing line.

Supplement store TTT Legacy has already dropped the brand.

Owner Bianca Jachau said: “I have supported this brand for two years, I have stocked it and have proudly pushed the brand ... I just want to let you know I have just pulled your whole range from my store.

“You can cancel my new order and you will never see my business again,” she added.

Tooth held little back in his video tirade, with two distinct examples of plus-size acceptance raising his ire.

The first was a post of a woman, who he perceived to be overweight, in gym apparel.

He said: “In anyone’s right f***ing mind, that woman is not curvy ... she’s got f***ing 10 kilos to lose. B*tch, get on a f***ing treadmill and lose the fat!” he said.

“When you are born, you are not f***ing born like an overweight f***ing little whale. You are not an overweight Oompa Loompa rolling around.”

He went on to compare pictures of two models, one lean and the other plus-size US model Jari Jones, saying: “Here you have two models, one who looks athletic, built well, sexy. And then you've got another one that is overweight and represents anything but being healthy, lean and having a slim body.

“Society is making this the new f***ing norm. If you think that a curvy overweight woman is normal, sexy and healthy, get f***ed! Remove yourself off my Instagram!” 

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