- Jameela Jamil's health became a topic of intense debate on social media this week.
- In a viral Instagram story highlight, writer and producer Tracie Egan Morrissey cited perceived "inconsistencies" in accounts Jamil has given regarding previous illnesses and injuries.
- On Wednesday and Thursday, Jamil responded to Morrissey's claims in a series of increasingly impassioned social media posts.
- Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
It's been a rough couple of weeks for Jameela Jamil on social media. To quote the actor, the situation has been "a perfect clusterf—."
Last week, "The Good Place" star faced backlash following the announcement of her newest gig as a judge on HBO Max's upcoming voguing competition series "Legendary."
This week, however, a new controversy is brewing online. And it all begins with a bee and a back injury.
The Original Controversy
In a viral Instagram story highlight that was initially created last Wednesday, February 5, and updated as recently as Thursday, February 13, Tracie Egan Morrissey — writer, producer, and host of the podcast "Pot Psychology" — compared multiple interviews in which Jamil appears to make contradictory statements about her health and past.
Jamil had previously described her recovery from certain injuries in seemingly incongruous ways.
In a 2015 interview with the Daily Mirror, Jamil described an incident in which she, at 17 years old, ran into oncoming traffic to avoid a bee and damaged her spine in the process. This injury, she explained at the time, confined her to bed for "two years" and forced her to walk with a Zimmer frame.
Four years later, in an interview with Cosmopolitan, Jamil offered a slightly different description of her recovery from this injury. Getting hit by a car, she said, "basically destroyed" her back and resulted in "about a year" recovery in bed, followed by "about six months" in a wheelchair.
In October 2019, Jamil told a similar, though certainly not identical, story to the Chicago Tribune, calling the incident her "worst moment," Jamil described getting hit by a car while fleeing a "swarm of bees" on an evening jog. In a panic, Jamil — who had just started filming the first season of "The Good Place" — ran into the street and was knocked down by a vehicle attempting to slow for her. Thankfully, she was unscathed and able to take shelter at a juice bar nearby. But as Morrissey and others have noted, this account bears a striking resemblance to that of Jamil's first accident. In fact, yet another story involving Jamil and nature's primary pollinator has since surfaced.
Morrissey found "inconsistencies" in other interviews with Jamil, too.
Jamil's 2014 breast cancer scare has also come under scrutiny. Per Jamil, the lump she found that year ultimately turned out to be "non-cancerous." But in a tweet dated October 7, 2019, Jamil claimed to have survived "cancer twice."
Morrissey compared accounts of an accident that occurred while Jamil was on set with Olly Murs, too. In most instances, Jamil is portrayed as having lost a front tooth, broken her nose and elbow, and suffered a concussion. In others, broken ribs are added to the list.
Even Jamil's prior career as a model was called into question. In tweets and interviews, Jamil has alternately stated that she was both a model and a model agent, as well as that she was never a model, but rather model scout. Quotes Jamil has given about her eating disorder, however, seem to suggest that she did work briefly as a model between ages 15 and 17.
In a previous Instagram story highlight on Morrissey's account, the writer implied Jamil, along with several other celebrities, may be suffering from Munchausen syndrome or somatic symptom syndrome. However, in an interview with Insider, Morrissey clarified her stance.
"The thing is, I don't know if she has Munchausen obviously," Morrissey said. "I was sort of using Munchausen colloquially as a term for someone who just lies about illnesses or is maybe a hypochondriac, and I probably misspoke about that. I don't really know if that's the case."
After learning of Morrissey's findings, Jamil published a series of tweets Wednesday morning, plus a statement on Instagram that evening.
"First I'm lying about my sexuality, now I'm now being accused of munchausens?" the actress wrote. "By an unhinged idiot who didn't even realize in all her 'research' that my car accident injury stories are 'different' because they were about TWO SEPARATE CAR ACCIDENTS 13 years apart? You can keep it."
In subsequent tweets, Jamil reminded followers of her diagnosis with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a condition that affects the body's connective tissue. She added: "Man, if as many people spent their time and energy helping others/fighting injustice as they do dragging and slandering people on the internet the world would be in such good shape."
Shortly thereafter, Jamil replied to a smattering of follow-up questions from users. One individual asked how Jamil was able to continue filming after hurting herself so badly on set with Olly Murs.
Another user asked for clarification on how the actress was able to eat a bag of peanut-butter filled pretzels (pictured last week on her Instagram story), given the peanut allergy Jamil has referenced in interviews.
Jamil addressed the confusion regarding her car accidents, too, and insisted the two events, which occurred more than a decade apart, were unrelated.
Additionally, Jamil offered this correction regarding her battles with cancer.
For Jamil, the skepticism surrounding her health is, at its core, a gendered and racialized issue. Many in the disability community have come to her defense in recent days, and indeed, there is a long and sordid history in this country of pathologizing women's bodies and minds. But online, there is a growing sense among fans and critics alike that Jamil may be playing up her struggles to attract attention, deflect criticism, and promote her personal brand as a social justice advocate and health advocate.
The actor's final public statement on the subject was shared to Instagram on Wednesday evening. In the post, Jamil dismissed Morrissey as a "weirdo stalker" who "started a viral conspiracy thread."
"In her rush to bully and drag, she forgot to read…" Jamil wrote. "But after a few hours of feeling upset that I'm being gaslit and targeted for harassment… I sort of realized… oh. Ok. Some people have sad, empty lives. And doing this gives them some purpose."
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Some weirdo stalker started a viral conspiracy thread on my having munchausens apparently. She thought that because my car accident stories was “different” …. that’s because they were about two separate car accidents 13 years apart. In her rush to bully and drag, she forgot to read… 🤓 But after a few hours of feeling upset that I’m being gaslit and targeted for harassment… I sort of realized… oh. Ok. Some people have sad, empty lives. And doing this gives them some purpose. And I don’t have to do stuff like this because I have a purpose in @i_weigh and all our beautiful policy change and fights for legislation to protect young people. So now I think all of the accusations are hilarious and I’m starting my own rumors. Write your best rumor about me below!
However, in private direct message conversations with Morrissey on Twitter, which the writer has since made available for purchase on Patreon, Jamil persisted in refuting the "misinformation" that is now circulating online.
"You're just trying to kick a woman when she's down," Jamil wrote. "Good luck with your crusade. I hope it makes you happy. Hopefully you can protect all those kids with eating disorders that I'm helping, from me. The satanic straight munchausen demon that I am…"
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