Bette Midler Slammed over 'Cruel and Insensitive' Remarks on Baby Formula Shortage
Hollywood star provokes backlash with tone-deaf comments
Hollywood star Bette Midler has been met with a furious backlash after she made "cruel and insensitive" remarks about the nationwide baby formula shortage.
Midler was weighing in on Joe Biden’s baby formula crisis that is hitting families hard across the country.
However, her comments caused outrage across social media in what critics say was a tone-deaf suggestion by the actress and singer.
“TRY BREASTFEEEDING! It’s free and available on demand,” Midler tweeted.
TRY BREASTFEEEDING! It’s free and available on demand. https://t.co/15xetgg1ps— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) May 13, 2022
Ilyse Hogue, president of the social impact organization Purpose, led the charge of angry responses.
"Bette, respectfully, this is a very bad take," Hogue tweeted.
"I had twins," she explained.
"I didn’t produce enough milk for both.
"Without formula, I would have had to have chosen which one got to eat.
"To say nothing of kids that get separated from the birth mothers very young."
Bette, respectfully, this is a very bad take. I had twins. I didn’t produce enough milk for both. Without formula, I would have had to have chosen which one got to eat. To say nothing of kids that get separated from the birth mothers very young.— Ilyse Hogue (@ilyseh) May 13, 2022
Hogue was not alone in her criticisms.
One woman called Midler’s remark “cruel and insensitive,” tweeting: "MY body didn’t allow me to do so. Mine dried up before I gave birth.”
Midler later tried to make amends – sort of, tweeting, “People are piling on because of former tweet.
"No shame if you can’t breastfeed, but if you can & are somehow convinced that your own milk isn’t as good as a ‘scientifically researched product’, that’s something else again.
"The monopoly news is news to me, tho, no lie. #WETNURSES.”
But even that did not go over well.
Noooooo. Stop. Do not double down on this. This is so bad.— Amber Gustafson (@AmberForIowa) May 13, 2022
Dr. Daniel Summers, a pediatrician in the Boston area, said Midler’s initial comment was “a terrible, thoughtless and unhelpful take,” according to KFOR-TV.
“Not every woman can breastfeed, no matter how much anyone says they can,” he said.
Summers also took issue with Midler’s contention that breastfeeding is “free.”
“Saying breastfeeding is free means that no value is put on the mother’s time, because breastfeeding requires a great deal of time and effort,” he said.
“Some mothers do not have the resources necessary to give that time, in many cases because they need to bring home money to support their families and cannot dedicate the time to nursing.”
Summers said the argument that milk from a mother’s breast is better than formula is “supremely unhelpful.”
“It’s not a question of formula vs. breastmilk — it’s a question of formula vs. starving,” Summers said, saying that some moms do not produce enough milk to meet the needs of their babies.