Origins: Subway's pitchman Jared Fogle is alive and well, but so too are rumors about his demise. Because he lost so much weight so quickly and became a minor celebrity through the many commercials he has starred in for the sandwich shop chain, this young man become the focus a spurious rumor that places him six feet under and pushing up daisies.
Though this hadn't been in the plan when he started on the road towards a more svelte figure, Jared's dieting success transformed him into Subway's pitchman and goodwill ambassador at large. He started out just a guy who wanted to lose weight and who came up with an novel and effective way of doing so.
As a student at Indiana University, Jared began his reduction plan in March 1998, when he weighed
In April 1999 the Indiana Daily Student (his university's newspaper) did a story on Jared's remarkable weight loss. The Associated Press followed with a nationally circulated article (as did Men's Health magazine) which brought him to Subway's attention. They called and asked if
Jared is currently under contract to Subway, and in addition to the commercials he appears in for them, he makes numerous personal appearances both to tout Subway and to promote fitness.
Celebrity death rumors are nothing new, as Steve Burns of Blue's Clues can attest to. (Rumors about that popular TV show's host death have been rampant for years, with his leaving the show in 2001 only adding to them.) In this case, however, they seem to be underpinned by an unvoiced conviction that all that weight loss can't be good for a person, plus some good old-fashioned sour grapes. Those who are struggling with their own weight issues or watching loved ones dealing with the same might find comfort in a rumor that the high-profile "success" they see on television every day paid for it with his life.
Most of the rumors about Jared simply place him in a pine box, with no explanation given for how he came to that end. Some, however, make the "sour grapes" aspect of the rumor startlingly apparent:
Any truth to the rumor that Jerrod from the Subway commercials was fired after being diagnosed with A.I.D.S. because weight loss was due to illness?
Did Jared the subway guy have gastric bypass? Is that realy how he lost the weight? He is making an appearance at the Heartwalk for the AHA in Mobile, AL. The rumors around town are that he had the bypass.
Another "sour graping" component is also evident: the envied one's perfidy brings about (or is about to bring about) a loss of position, power, money, and fame. It's not enough that the truth come out — the person who has through his own success made others feel bad about their less-than-stellar results has to be brought down. Jared is "found out" by Subway, which fires him or is on the brink of terminating its association with him. In this form of the rumor, punishment — ostensibly for having gained something wrongly but actually for having caused others to feel less competent in comparison — is meted out.
Nothing brings out the green-eyed monster like success. It's a sad truth that often those who accomplish something in this world attract not praise, but belittling rumors that say the one who succeeded doesn't deserve the adulation or prosperity good fortune or hard work brought his way.
Barbara "petty cache" Mikkelson
Sightings: In an episode of the animated TV series South Park ("Jared has Aides"; original air date
Last updated: 29 November 2010
Armijo, Patrick. "Jared Inspires Local Fans." Albuquerque Journal. 4 June 2002 (p. 4). Constable, Burt. "The Skinny on Jared." Chicago Daily Herald. 19 March 2002 (p. 11). Moor, Bill. "He Helped Turn Jared Into Half the Man He Was." South Bend Tribune. 28 June 2002 (p. D1). Salem, Nancy. "Slimming's Latest Superstar Says Subway to Fame Has Been Surreal." Albuquerque Journal. 1 June 2002 (p. A1).