- There is a big debate on social media involving “Love Is Blind” and clementines.
- Zanab said Cole’s remarks about her weight caused her to stop eating while filming.
- The internet is divided about whether Cole fat-shamed her for eating two clementines.
“Love Is Blind” season three released its final two episodes on November 9, and this season was not done serving up viral moments — this time thanks to Cole Barnett and Zanab Jeffrey.
On the reunion episode, Zanab said that during filming, Cole was “trying to control what I ate” and make her change her eating habits.
“I stopped eating. I was eating a banana and a teaspoon of peanut butter just so I wouldn’t pass out on the long days we were filming,” she continued.
Cole’s response to Zanab’s memory was: “That’s hilarious. I never once cared about what you ate. What are you talking about?”
Zanab then shared the memory she had involving Cuties clementines. She said that on one of the long shooting days when she needed to eat something, she grabbed two clementines, a small variety of a mandarine orange.
She said Cole “looked at me and he goes, ‘are you going to eat both of those?’” When she told him yes because it was one serving of the fruit, she recalled him telling her that since they were going out to eat later, “Maybe you should save your appetite.”
Cole appeared shocked that she told the story and said, “If you have it please air it,” asking producers to air the previously unseen footage. He said that he only asked her about the fruit because they were going out to a big dinner later that night.
Netflix did air the footage they dubbed “The Cuties Story” at the end of the reunion episode. Both of their memories proved to be correct: Cole did ask Zanab if she was going to eat two clementines and then told her, “You better save your appetite” because they were going to have a “big ‘ol sucker” of a dinner that night.
When Zanab told him she hadn’t eaten that day and he asked her why, she said she “probably shouldn’t” tell him. In the scene, both Zanab and Cole agree that he offered her a poké bowl for lunch, which she refused. When Cole asked if Zanab was getting her “wedding dress bod” ready, she replied, “something like that.”
The internet is divided on Cuties-gate
The unaired scene has many people on the internet divided. One user wrote on Twitter that considering the couple’s dynamic with each other, “even if Zanab was damn near starving herself on her own accord, I completely understand her hearing ‘are you going to eat both of those’ and ‘save your appetite’ as a criticism.”
—Naima Cochrane (@naima) November 11, 2022
Another user pointed out that Cole’s behavior throughout the season is an example of “gaslighting.”
“Cole took every opportunity to trash Zay’s looks, makes intentional little comments in a playful way for deniability and then play victim?? why is he concerned she’s eating 2 tiny oranges anyway?” they continued in their tweet.
—shay 🍓 (@_shaynicolebod) November 11, 2022
But many people online seem to feel like Zanab exaggerated the story to paint Cole in a negative light.
“…She made it seem like be belittled her n made her not eat she ate cherries n the oranges preparing for her wedding dress he had nothing to do with why she couldn’t eat I feel bad for him,” another Twitter user wrote.
—LuxurCr3Tv (@LuxurCre) November 9, 2022
Zanab and Cole have both since commented on the controversy
Neither Zanab nor Cole immediately responded to Insider’s request for comment on the Cuties debacle.
Cole told Entertainment Weekly that Zanab’s comments on the reunion were “the very first time” he’d heard that he potentially influenced her eating habits.
He said that if Zanab’s potentially dangerous eating habits “really did come from our relationship, I am to the core of myself sorry that that ever happened.”
“I wish that I could in any way help her, but I had no idea, and I still have no idea what that’s like for her because we’re not really on talking terms,” he added.
Zanab told Entertainment Weekly in a separate interview that she didn’t seek help for an eating disorder after ending her relationship with Cole, nor did she ever describe her behavior as an eating disorder.
“I’ve always been a good eater. I very much enjoy food. I’m not the girl that turns down desserts. I’m not the girl that cuts bread out. I’ve never been that person,” she said, so it was “shocking” to her body when she said she stopped eating during filming.
She said that since her relationship with Cole and filming “Love Is Blind” have both ended, she’s in therapy to “unlearn those behaviors and rearrange the way I was thinking about myself and treating myself.”
In an Instagram post on November 10, Zanab appeared to respond to the negativity she’s been receiving on social media.
“I’m sorry we don’t have the same triggers. I’m sorry me standing up for myself, offended you so greatly,” she wrote in part.
Prior to the reunion, fans of “Love Is Blind” also saw Zanab leave Cole at the altar on their wedding day. “You have disrespected me, you have insulted me, you have critiqued me, and for what it is worth you have single-handedly shattered my self-confidence,” she said in part of her speech.
“Love Is Blind” season three is streaming on Netflix.