Home Celeb Watch Biggest Loser Cast Member Sued For Gaining Weight?

Biggest Loser Cast Member Sued For Gaining Weight?

by Erika Nicole Kendall

Y’all know I can’t stand Biggest Loser and the problems the show creates, so someone’s going to have to help me out with this one:

FC Online Marketing, the reality star’s sponsor, has filed a lawsuit against Costa for breach of contract. Their business agreement required Costa to maintain a certain figure, she represented the online marketing firm as a spokesperson/mascot of sorts; they expected her to stay below a certain weight for press events, photo shoots and whatnot. They hired Costa for a reason–she is a white, blonde lady with conventionally attractive looks…at least while she’s thin.

According to The Daily Mail  “FCOM claims that she re-gained ‘far too much weight’ in 2011 for them to continue using her as a brand ambassador – which followed a guest appearance she made that same year on The Biggest Loser where she weighed in at 161lbs, a full 22lbs heavier than in 2009.” FCOM gave Costa $45,000 to use her likeness after she lost 155lbs on The Biggest Loser: Couples 2

While cruel and heartless, the actions of FCOM almost make sense in a vacuum–they were paying her for a specific service that she could no longer fulfill. However, the controversy is not taking place in a vacuum and the context makes FCOM’s choice to sue Costa fully annoying. Last year, TC opened up to ABC News and came out as having and addiction to food, admitting to eating 6,000+ calorie meals at the peak of her addiction.  It’s a shame that FCOM is taking legal action rather than showing any concern that their spokesperson has been going through what she seems to consider a relapse. [source]

I’m a capitalist. I understand the business-end of this. But business without a solid connection between the two parties involved… results in mess like this.

Tara Costa's before and after

Tara Costa’s before and after

I’m also kind of shocked that 22lbs is “far too much weight” to regain when someone’s lose 155lbs. Not that weight gain is to be expected – I mean, it can be if you didn’t lose it in ways that solve what challenges caused you to put it on in the first place – but that 22lbs, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t even 25% of the weight she lost. Maybe because of the perspective I’m coming from, but I look at 22lbs and thing “Oh, 8 weeks.” Not “far too much weight.” Or maybe it’s just that losing 133lbs – the initial 155 that she lost minus the 22 that she gained – is still something to be proud of…and the fact that they’re suing her over it shows that it’s more about what you look like in the end, and not about what you’ve accomplished thus far. I don’t know.

That being said, if so much of your business model is centered around her developing and maintaining her physique, why are you not keeping tabs on her? Providing her with resources? Checking in frequently? Why be scumbags about it and out her in this way with a lawsuit? Why not keep up with her and – y’know, because you’re keeping up with her, you’re seeing this – ask her what’s going on once you spot the weight gain creeping up past 10lbs?

Am I the only person who is really rubbed the wrong way by this?

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Randi July 11, 2013 - 3:08 PM

This company is insane. What I find more insane is that this lawsuit makes it seem like she’s gained this weight bc she being reckless and not paying attention to her body BUT if you check her Facebook page (I follow her since she was my fav contestant when I used to watch TBL) she looks awesome and fit.

She’s doing 100 mile bike races, 10 mile runs, 3 mile swims and I believe she’s training for Iron Man.

So I’m thinking she’s probably gaining muscle…I’m sorry but I will take 22 lbs of muscle any day.

Lisa McCall July 11, 2013 - 4:56 PM

While I agree wholeheatedly with you that they should have been keeping tabs on her to ensure she was readjusting to her “normal” life again while maintaining healthy eating and routine exercise (not everyone is going to be Ali and just bounce back to their life without skipping a beat)… BUT (and this is the part where you will argue with me)… I do agree they have a right to sue her for breach of contract.

When you shake hands with the devil and agree to sell your IMAGE, they control you. Want to gain weight? Give us our money back… I’m sure that wouldn’t have been a problem. But it’s just like Jarod and Subway; Jennifer and Weight Watchers… heck Flo and Progressive. Would you be as upset about it? Why is it such a bad thing because it is the Biggest Loser? People who sign up for the show want to lose weight and want to win money… those are their motivations… No one forced them into that situation and I don’t think they display any harmful behaviors on the show… for the 5 months they are on that ranch their JOBS are to wake up, exercise, lose weight, learn how to eat differently than they were eating and get thin…

Now I watched the season with Tara… and while I was happy she won, my hubby and I thought she lost way too much weight. She was bone thin at the finale… And maybe she had to do that to ensure she one the grand jackpot… but afterwards, she may have thought – well… I think I may look better with 20 more lbs of curves on me… but once you sign that capitalist contract and hand our IMAGE over to the devil, you can’t make those unilateral decisions any more… it’s no longer yours… you sold it to someone else… and they expect it to be maintain in the order that it was when you signed on the dotted line… CONTRACT.

For me the bigger question is… if she loses the 22 lbs, do they drop the lawsuit?

And a follow up question for you is… would you be upset if a plus size model was sued for losing too much weight? Isn’t a contract a contract? I’m just saying…

Erika Nicole Kendall July 11, 2013 - 5:13 PM

“And a follow up question for you is… would you be upset if a plus size model was sued for losing too much weight? Isn’t a contract a contract? I’m just saying…”

Your “follow-up question” is only relevant if you’re assuming that I’m trying to protect/defend the premise of “gaining weight,” or “backsliding.” I feel like, somewhere along the line, you missed the point.

“Why is it such a bad thing because it is the Biggest Loser? People who sign up for the show want to lose weight and want to win money… those are their motivations… No one forced them into that situation and I don’t think they display any harmful behaviors on the show…”

It’s not that “Biggest Loser” is different from any other outlet; it’s that I hate Biggest Loser. You can click here to find out why. You can also click and find out about any “harmful behaviors.”

Lisa McCall July 11, 2013 - 5:01 PM
Khy July 11, 2013 - 7:01 PM

From a purely financial perspective, I think the lawsuit will hurt their business more than having a heavier spokesperson will. Aside from any indignation people may feel about the issue, I think TBL people are shooting themselves in the foot by giving more attention to the fact that their methods really don’t result in longterm changes for many of the competitors. They would be better off keeping this quiet and helping her get back on track.

kami July 11, 2013 - 7:02 PM

Wow this is insane. The Biggest Loser does not promote healthy weight loss or long term weight loss. I wish they get rid of these television shows. It reminds of the month I spent in weight loss camp. It was horrible. I have stories for days about new found body image issues.

Sara July 12, 2013 - 3:50 AM

Wow. I had no idea. I follow her on facebook. She looks fine to me. She’s always talking about her 100mil bike rides etc.

My husband hates the biggest loser. He says they should be helping the people lose weight, not kicking them off the show before they get the help that they need.

@Curvy_Jones July 12, 2013 - 10:20 AM

22 lbs over a 2 yr period seems harsh. Does she look the same as when she completed Biggest Loser? Are we talking 22lbs + 2 sizes? Or 22lbs but still fit?

if it’s just numbers, they can bite a root.

Lovinia July 12, 2013 - 11:02 AM

Ok I just looked at her facebook page and she looks damn good! Like Randi said that 22lbs is probably all muscle. They’re talking like she gained all her former weight back. This is crazy!

Deanna July 12, 2013 - 1:12 PM

So…..While believing that this whole ordeal is RIDICULOUS…she IS under contract..therefore, this really should have been a big issue to her PRIMARILY. It’s rough but true. 🙁

Jerzygirl45 July 12, 2013 - 4:19 PM

Wow – that’s pretty callous of them. I get the business aspect of it (a contract is a contract), but I think if they were really smart they could actually turn this to their advantage.

Maybe do an update special to tell people that it’s not all rainbows and unicorns after the show. Sometimes weight is gained back and that it’s a lifelong process to maintain. Also, that maybe her ending weight was not the right weight for her and maybe where she is now is actually better for her individual body.

But I guess that wouldn’t fit into the whole “Thin Mystique” of it all.

Jayde July 14, 2013 - 10:15 AM

Im not even surprised. They act like they did her favor by helping her losing weight. Now it’s a problem that she gain weight? I wonder if they had therapy for their eating habits? If not, it’s something they need to add in the contract to promote healthy lifestyle. Suing somebody…Chile please!

Joy Taylor August 4, 2013 - 9:39 AM

What is healthy is subjective I suppose. I always enjoyed Tara on the show and couldn’t wait for her to amaze over and over. Although she did great and lost allot of weight, it has to be hard to leave a place of safety for your food issues and go back out into the real world. For her to only gain 22lbs is rather good. It seems mean what they did. I wonder do they offer help for her as she goes on or is the ability to keep it off totally on her? I am tall, I can gain 20 lbs and baggy jeans will go tight but i don’t go from thin to fat and Tara is no shortie. 160 looks different on 5’3 than 5’10…shame on them

Mishala August 4, 2013 - 2:36 PM

My question is did they bother to find out where this 22 pounds came from. Is it a combination of fat and muscle, all muscle, what she bloated? I mean, there could be any number of reasons for this weight gain. Did they just throw her on a scale, or were they monitoring her body fat and hydration as well? Either way, this is ridiculous. They should have monitored her, yes, but rather than suing her, they should have given her a chance to lose the weight.

Alexis August 4, 2013 - 7:14 PM

Tara Costa is (i think) a 2 time iron man. She does triathlons and even went to Kona for the Iron man championships. If she has gained 22 lbs and has achieved this level of fitness, isn’t that what Biggest Loser is promoting? I am a fan of the show but I will admit, the first few episodes were more motivating then the recent seasons. How about we use her as a role model and show ladies (and men) that weight is a number and fitness is not dependent on weight. I am currently training for my second marathon after losing 20 or so lbs and I will freely admit to gaining an average of 10lbs every time I train for an endurance event. However, l stay in the same size (if the thighs are forgiving) and actually end up looking smaller then I do when I finish training and all that muscle goes away. Shame on BL for failing to teach people what’s really important.

Joe Shmo July 15, 2014 - 1:18 AM

The reality is that they did not sue her for being overweight or gaining weight, it was a counter suit. Tara Costa sued FC online marketing and Michael Parrella for using her images beyond the terms of the 1 year contract. (1 year 4 months to be exact). The only defense the clearly overweight Michael Parrella could come up with was to counter sue for her being too fat. He never had a problem with her alleged weight until after she sued him for using his images beyond the year agreed and refused to stop using them therefore forcing Tara Costa to sue her.

Annette September 28, 2014 - 2:05 PM

“But business without a solid connection between the two parties involved… results in mess like this.”

So true. I am not a Weight Watcher fan yet when Jessica Simpson was having a tough time and a few others that were on their program, they seem to have formed a good relationship.

Also was the 45,000 for her lifetime or was it for each year. That is just too too petty. IF they had formed a relationship she could have come back at any time to do a refesher, to help with any emotional issues she was going through. Just don’t like how they operate it’s about forming relationships. I guess it’s about ratings only. I think you can do both and still have genuine connection and a program that works.

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