'I try to bring as much heart and honesty as I can,' says Chris Sullivan

By David Canfield
October 25, 2017 at 11:22 AM EDT

On Wednesday morning, Megyn Kelly sat down with Chris Sullivan to talk his turn as Toby on This Is Us, and the Today host steered the conversation toward the controversial prosthetics the actor wears on the show.

Kelly reminded the audience that Sullivan wears a fat suit on the NBC drama, a fact that caused significant backlash upon being made public by This Is Us costar Susan Kelechi Watson in the middle of season 1. Toby is the romantic interest to Pearson sibling Kate (Chrissy Metz); their initial connection emerged through a shared struggle with being overweight and controlling their eating habits.

Sullivan expressed dissatisfaction with viewers who have a problem with the choice to wear a fat suit. “There is a lot of things to be outraged about these days, and I think that getting outraged about an actor on a television show who may be wearing a costume that makes him larger than he is, might be low on the list,” he told Kelly. “At least in my opinion. If I am not portraying Toby with the level of integrity or honesty — [if] you disagree with [that], I would be happy to talk about that. But I think that regardless of the costumes that I wear, especially with Toby, I try to bring as much heart and honesty as I can.”

Ron Batzdorff/NBC

When Kelly brought up the online backlash, Sullivan noted he tries not to engage in it, saying, “The internet is a dangerous place: Stay off of there.”

Metz, whose character often faces discrimination for her weight, defended the show’s prosthetic decision back in February, shortly after the news had first broken. “Chris has been heavier, so I think he understands the plight of being overweight,” she said. “Also, he was just the best man for the job. And people wear prosthetics all the time — it’s just weight as opposed to, like, a nose or a chin … It’s just kind of the name of the game.”