SARAH Paulson has been blasted for wearing a "fat suit" to play civil servant Linda Trapp in a new show about the infamous Clinton-Lewinsky scandal.
The actress has admitted "regrets" over donning a padded outfit as it has left her fielding a wave of backlash – with people questioning why the role wasn't handed to someone with a more fitting physique.
Paulson stars in the upcoming series Impeachment: American Crime Story, playing Tripp – who was one the most notorious figures in the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal in 1998.
She secretly recorded intern Monica Lewinsky's boasts about having an affair with Bill Clinton, before handing it over to investigators.
The American Horror Story star has now said she wished she had thought through her decision to accept the role more in the face of the controversy it's caused.
"It's very hard for me to talk about this without feeling like I'm making excuses," the 46-year-old told the Los Angeles Times.
"There's a lot of controversy around actors and fat suits, and I think that controversy is a legitimate one.
"I think fat phobia is real. I think to pretend otherwise causes further harm. And it is a very important conversation to be had.
"But that entire responsibility I don't think falls on the actor for choosing to do something that is arguably – and I'm talking about from the inside out – the challenge of a lifetime."
In her role of Tripp, Paulson wore prosthetic teeth, a fake nose and a five-pound "fat suit" – telling the outlet she wouldn't accept a similar job in future if it involved such requirements.
"I think the thing I think about the most is that I regret not thinking about it more fully. And that is an important thing for me to think about and reflect on," she added.
"I also know it's a privileged place to be sitting and thinking about it and reflecting on it, having already gotten to do it, and having had an opportunity that someone else didn't have.
"You can only learn what you learn when you learn it. Should I have known? Abso-f***ing-lutely. But I do now. And I wouldn't make the same choice going forward."
Pictures of Paulson donning the "fat suit" sparked a social media frenzy, with many slamming the actress for taking the part.
One person on Twitter wrote: "So…Sarah Paulson knows fatphobia is harmful, but she still took the role and put on a fat suit. Like…sis…wut?"
While another added: "Sarah always does great on AH but casting a skinny woman and putting her in a fat suit in 2021 is so 1990. Really it's time to hire fat women to play fat women. Also fat people are human. Even when they do evil things. Stop fat discrimination."
A third piped up saying: "Can we just talk about how f****** problematic it is that Sarah Paulson is wearing a fucking fat suit in American Crime Story: Impeachment."
But the actress did clap back at criticism, adding: "I do think to imagine that the only thing any actor called upon to play this part would have to offer is their physical self is a real reduction of the offering the actor has to make.
"Was I supposed to say no [to the part]? This is the question."
Impeachment: American Crime Story – also starring Beanie Feldstein as Lewinsky and Clive Owenwill as Clinton – will start airing in the US on September 7 on FX.
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