The LAD Bible, the website from which a viral meme of former Prison Break star Wentworth Miller originated, has apologized in response to a candid essay from the actor.
The meme showed a picture of the 43-year-old Miller shirtless during his Prison Break days next to one taken years later, where he is heavier. Alongside the photos ran a caption that read "When you break out of prison and find out about McDonald's monopoly..."
The meme quickly went viral, gaining over 100,000 likes and was shared over 12,000 times before Miller shared the meme himself, along with an essay that openly expressed the painful memories he associates with the image.
In his essay, Miller reflected on his struggles with depression, which led to his weight gain after he departed from Prison Break.
“I’ve struggled with depression since childhood. It’s a battle that’s cost me time, opportunities, relationships, and a thousand sleepless nights,” he wrote.
“In 2010, at the lowest point in my adult life, I was looking everywhere for relief/comfort/distraction. And I turned to food. It could have been anything. Drugs. Alcohol. Sex. But eating became the one thing I could look forward to. Count on to get me through. There were stretches when the highlight of my week was a favorite meal and a new episode of TOP CHEF. Sometimes that was enough. Had to be.”
He continued: "One day, out for a hike in Los Angeles with a friend, we crossed paths with a film crew shooting a reality show. Unbeknownst to me, paparazzi were circling. They took my picture, and the photos were published alongside images of me from another time in my career. 'Hunk To Chunk.' 'Fit To Flab.' Etc."
Though the photos understandably caused Miller a great deal of pain at the time, he admits that he is now able to find something positive in the image: “Now, when I see that image of me in my red t-shirt, a rare smile on my face, I am reminded of my struggle. My endurance and my perseverance in the face of all kinds of demons.”
The powerful essay took the internet by storm and prompted a flurry of honest conversations on weight, depression and the impact of viral imagery.
Eventually, the essay reached the owners of the LAD Bible who then apologized for the meme in a letter to Miller, which they posted on their Facebook page.
"We posted two pictures of you last night to our Facebook page," the letter opens, "but today we want to say we’ve got this very, very wrong. Mental health is no joke or laughing matter."
It continues: "We certainly didn’t want to cause you pain by reminding you of such a low point in your life. Causing distress and upset to innocent or vulnerable people is simply not acceptable. We applaud your raw honesty and promise to now cover such matters in the responsible manner that our audience expects."
"Once again, we got this very wrong, and we wanted to say sorry."