Ty Pennington wants people to stop making comments about others’s bodies after being body shamed.
The former Trading Spaces contractor, 58, reflected on hateful comments he received on a video he posted on Instagram in Jan. 2022 of himself dancing in his swim trunks on a beach.
“I didn’t even plan it. I just had to move, man. I was like: When Booker T. & the M.G.’s comes on, I’m gonna groove, man. So I had no idea 1) that it would get so many views and 2) it would get so many reactions,” he tells Yahoo Life. “The funny part is, [at first, I had my shorts] very low — and then I hiked ’em up to like my nipples. So that’s the joke. But even then I got comments.”
Pennington shared that he was called “disgusting,” “old,” “gross” and “fat” in the comments section below the fun video. The reaction was both unexpected and disheartening.
“The main point is you don’t have to waste your time making negative comments about anybody’s body, about anybody’s dance capabilities, about anybody’s anything. All you can say is: ‘Oh, I like that song.’ That would be lovely. Or, you know, ‘You may want to get a belt.’ That I can handle,” he said. “I just find it interesting that even I — who’s loved by just about everybody, it’s not like I was voted off an island, I’ve helped people do great things in life — was shamed.”
It also made him reflect on people who may be dealing with difficult relationships with their body.
“If you’re gonna take the time to shame somebody like me — who’s just a regular guy, who’s not fat, not skinny, just an average guy — then what are you saying to other people who are worse off in either direction?” he said. “It’s important that we all remember how painful it can be — to a male or female — who thinks they posted something funny about themselves, having a good time, and that turns into this absolute shaming, where they feel disgusted about themselves and it goes straight to depression. It’s just not OK in my book.”
Pennington reminded people of the reality of aging in a follow up Instagram post in Feb. 2022, sharing that it had been 22 years since his debut on television. “No, I don’t have a six pack anymore or a luscious head of hair (with frosted tips 🤣) but what I do have is wisdom, empathy, life lessons and at 57 years old, I’ve TRULY never been happier! Anyways, all this to say: I’m human and I have feelings,” he wrote.
As he returns to TV as the host of HGTV’s Rock the Block, which premiered on Monday, Pennington assures fans that he’s not letting the shaming change how he shows up.
“I think the female body is a beautiful thing. For some reason, I find the male body hilarious, and I don’t know why [laughs]. That being said, it should also not be just like shame because you think, ‘Oh, God, you’re too old to be dressed like that,’ or ‘You’re not in shape enough to be showing that off,'” he says. “I’m going to continue to post videos of me dancing — in hopefully less clothing and be more offensive — because I find it very funny.”
He also hopes to inspire people to make a positive impact on another person rather than a negative one.
“How about you wake up and you decide to make someone’s life better not worse?” he says.