Stage and screen star Bette Midler has been scolded on social media after the actress’s “ignorant” and “offensive” tweet suggesting mothers should “try breastfeeding” as a baby formula shortage grips the US.
The Beaches star tweeted“TRY BREASTFEEEDING! It’s free and available on demand,” on Thursday, May 12, in reply to MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle’s coverage of the story.
TRY BREASTFEEEDING! It’s free and available on demand. https://t.co/15xetgg1ps
— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) May 13, 2022
The 76-year-old’s response has led to a controversial frenzy on the social media platform, with Midler facing backlash from several of her followers.
What a profoundly offensive & ignorant statement. There are countless reasons why breastfeeding is not an option for many mothers—too many to get into here. And if you’ve been using formula you can’t just flip a switch. Not to mention millions of babies with milk/food allergies…
— Stephen Miller (@StephenM) May 13, 2022
Author Jennifer Sey said Midler’s tweet was “profoundly insensitive” before listing down three of the “millions of reasons” why women aren’t able to nurse their children and that women “don’t even need a ‘reason'” whether or not they decide to breastfeed.
This is truly something a stupid/uneducated person would say….
— Graham Allen (@GrahamAllen_1) May 13, 2022
US Congressional candidate Jemmy Cargia Sharon also tweeted her disapproval, saying: “tell that to the face of a mother who survived breast cancer, uterine or ovarian cancer & because of treatment no longer has the ability to breastfeed. Tell that to her while she’s sobbing because she is unable to feed her baby & there is no formula to buy. Be better. ”
Shortly after receiving the backlash, Midler- who is a mother herself- doubled down on her stance, clarifying that she had no intention to shame those unable to 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,” she wrote.
*Try breastfeeding* in response to the #formulashortage is about as helpful as *buy an electric car* as a solution to high gas prices.
It’s not an option for millions of women.
Once again @BetteMidler is acting like the Danny Devito character in Ruthless People.
— Joel M. Petlin (@Joelmpetlin) May 13, 2022
This wouldn’t be the first time the Broadway legend has made headlines over the topic of breastfeeding. Back in 2018, Midler vowed to breastfeed her adult daughter in protest against Trump.
“STILL can’t believe Trump admin thwarted a UN resolution to support BREASTFEEDING! I may protest by breastfeeding my daughter again. Sorry, honey, I know you’re a working adult. The good news is my tits are now so long you don’t have to move home,” she Tweeted.
As for the baby formula crisis in the US, CBS News reports the current shortages have affected 26 states, as 50 per cent of formula products have continuously been out of stock in national retail stores since late April.