Kenneth Tong Promoting Anorexia on Twitter: A Hoax or just plain Hate?

It’s a sad day when someone like Kenneth Tong can become a minor (if vilified) celebrity based on his insistence that all women should be a size zero – or else they’re worthless. Spewing hateful tweets, this man was able to capture the Twitterverse’s attention for days, even becoming a trending topic. So was it all a hoax, like he hastily claimed? Or is there more to the story?

MrKennethTong wasn’t on anyone’s radar until he started promoting the “Size Zero Pill”. He began tweeting in early January about “managed anorexia” and his views on a woman’s ideal body size.

Here is just a small sample of some of the tweets he had been spewing:

This misogynistic and hateful rhetoric was the center of a heated Twitter exchange between Tong and several celebrities, including Simon Cowell and David Ramsay this week.

And his Twitter name made it to the trending topic list over the past weekend:

After nearly two weeks of promoting “managed anorexia” and calling women who were not size zero fat, Tong posted a retraction. Here is an excerpt:

“The whole size zero thing is a hoax. It came about after an interesting discussion I had with a friend of mine. The discussion centered round whether it was possible, to go from nowhere to be a globally recognized figure within a week harnessing the power of the internet and specifically Twitter…”

You can read the rest of his explanation on Twitlonger.

To many, this retraction sounded hollow, and to the London Independent’s Johann Hari even more so: he met with Tong just hours before the retraction was posted. And the interview left a bad taste in his mouth.

You can read the full interview on the Huffington Post, if you have the stomach for a constant barrage of misogyny and hate from Tong. Hari holds no punches, and questions Tong’s “medical” claims about the Size Zero Pill (of which there are clearly none), his idea that being wealthy places him above the law, and his view that women are objects and only beautiful when dangerously thin.

Ultimately, Hari discusses possible legal ramifications that could occur should anyone take Tong’s Size Zero Pill and become ill or die. He makes Tong visibly nervous, and only an hour after the end of their interview, Tong posts the above retraction.

So what does this all mean?

For one, Tong was able to rocket himself from obscurity (he was on Big Brother for a season, but otherwise unknown) to interviews with the mainstream media in a short period of time. He used hateful sentiments and a disgusting recommendation to women, but he got there.

However, whether Tong is genuine in saying that this was all just a big experiment (in which case the whole thing is repulsive for a host of other reasons), he will be remembered only as an example of an outdated, backwards, and loathsome mode of thinking.

It’s a shame that he got what he wanted out of this, and that he might have hurt dozens and even hundreds of young girls’ self-esteem in the process. Our society needs to refocus on the stories of the world’s heroes, not its villains, so that the Kenneth Tongs of the world aren’t given the attention they so sickly desire.