Sarah Paulson Admits "Regret" After Backlash Over Wearing Fat Suit as Linda Tripp on Impeachment

Sarah Paulson responded to controversy over her wearing 4.5 pounds of padding to play Linda Tripp in the upcoming FX series Impeachment: American Crime Story.

By Ryan Gajewski Aug 30, 2021 6:23 AMTags

Sarah Paulson is acknowledging she would have made different choices following the backlash over herself wearing a fat suit to portray Linda Tripp on FX's forthcoming series Impeachment: American Crime Story.

During a sit-down with the Los Angeles Times on Thursday, Aug. 26 that recently received media attention, the 46-year-old Emmy winner, who gained 30 pounds for the role, responded to previous backlash on social media surrounding her decision to wear roughly 4.5 pounds of padding. According to critics, the casting of Sarah as the real-life whistleblower in the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal marked another example of Hollywood neglecting to offer more opportunity to plus-size performers.

"It's very hard for me to talk about this without feeling like I'm making excuses," Sarah told the publication. "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."

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Sarah explained that assuming an actor's primary contribution to a role is "their physical self" would be a "real reduction of the offering" that the performer makes.

"I would like to believe that there is something in my being that makes me right to play this part," she said. "And that the magic of hair and makeup departments and costumers and cinematographers that has been part of moviemaking, and suspension of belief, since the invention of cinema. Was I supposed to say no [to the part]? This is the question." 

Kurt Iswarienko/FX

The Ratched star went on to share that she "abso-f--ing-lutely" should have given more thought to the issue before taking the role in the Ryan Murphy-produced project.

"I think the thing I think about the most is that I regret not thinking about it more fully," Sarah said. "And that is an important thing for me to think about and reflect on. 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."

Sarah added, "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."

Impeachment: American Crime Story, which tells the story of former President Clinton's impeachment, debuts on Sept. 7 and also stars Clive Owen (President Clinton), Edie Falco (Hillary Clinton) and Beanie Feldstein (Monica Lewinsky). Keep scrolling to see how the performers compare to their real-life counterparts. 

Sarah Paulson

Paulson was spotted on set of Impeachment: American Crime Story in Los Angeles on April 26.

Sarah Paulson & Beanie Feldstein

The actresses are spotted in character on the set of the third season of American Crime Story.

Edie Falco as Hillary Clinton

According to multiple reports, The Sopranos actress is set to star as the former first lady, who stood by her husband after he cheated on her with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky

Lewinsky, then a White House intern, was at the center of the whole scandal when President Bill Clinton pursued an inappropriate relationship with her. 

Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp

Tripp was a U.S. civil servant who worked with Lewinsky at the Pentagon, and began secretly recording phone conversations with Lewinsky to later hand over as evidence of the relationship. 

Annaleigh Ashford as Paula Jones

In 1994, Jones, an Arkansas civil servant, accused President Clinton of sexual harassment. Prosecutor Kenneth Starr uncovered Lewinsky's affair with Clinton in the process of investigating Jones' claims. 

Cobie Smulders as Ann Coulter

The right-leaning pundit authored the 1998 book High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton. She also served as an unpaid legal adviser to Jones during the initial court proceedings.

Billy Eichner as Matt Drudge

In January 1998, the founder of the Drudge Report was the reporter to break the news that President Clinton and Lewinsky were involved in a torrid love affair. 

Clive Owen as Bill Clinton

The former Arkansas governor became the 42nd U.S. president in 1992. Six years later, he became the second president to be impeached by the House of Representatives, having allegedly committed perjury and obstruction of justice to conceal his affair with Lewinsky. 

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