The #fatRDJ Oppenheimer meme, explained

Tony stark played by Robert Downey JrMarvel

Robert Downey Jr.’s newest appearance in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer has sparked a somewhat confusing meme, known as #fatRDJ.

Christopher Nolan’s upcoming film Oppenheimer, which stars a plethora of acting stars, has been garnering a lot of attention on Twitter due to one star in particular: Robert Downey Jr.

However, this is not necessarily for the ex-Iron Man actor’s role in the movie. Rather, a meme has sprouted after some fake photos from the movie’s filming were posted. And that meme is #fatRDJ.

Now, be warned that, like with multiple Twitter memes, the line between reality and fiction can get blurred, so bare with us while we attempt to explain what this meme is about.

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What is the #fatRDJ meme?

This bizarre meme, like many, was born on Twitter, by the user @KevMagnet, when they posted the blow tweet in response to another Tweet about a Robert Downey Jr movie:

The tweet that started it all.

@KevMagnet, who also runs a Discussing Film parody Twitter account, then decided to take this joke further. This other account, which mimicked the popular movie outlet, posted images that @KevMagnet doctored himself. The altered images were of Downey on the Oppenheimer set, showing him to have gained a significant amount of weight for his role.

Be warned, the link posted within the tweet will take the clicker to a… very odd YouTube video.

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Now, Downey actually appears to have lost weight for the Oppenheimer role rather than the opposite, though seemingly not as much as he did for Avengers: Endgame in 2018/19. His transformation can be seen in a photo shared by an Oppenheimer news Twitter account, which was one of the photos that @KevMagnet doctored.

#fatRDJ has taken off on Twitter

Now strangely, the parody account’s tweet seems to have spurred on a meme, all of which carry the hashtag #fatRDJ, in which Twitter users are building upon what the joke tweet started.

This includes posting photos of Downey that either show him with more weight than he usually has, posting plus-sized men that look similar to Downey, or dimply putting photos of the actor through FaceApp.

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And now, #fatRDJ is trending on Twitter, and only growing more viral, for better or worse.

Some Tweets are even referencing other films, such as the MCU, which Downey was famously part of.

If you have seen #fatRDJ trending on Twitter and have been scratching your head the whole time, don’t fret. Many other people have felt very similarly:

Is #fatRDJ a fat-shaming meme?

Now, some Twitter users – ones who haven’t actually fallen for the false tweet – have taken issue with the #fatRDJ meme, criticising the fact that it has seemingly been born out of the idea that someone being fat is in itself a joke.

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While this is definitely something worth dissecting, as plus-sized people have often been deemed the object of ridicule by society, this joke seems more akin to mocking how actors will put their bodies through shocking physical transformations just for a film role.

This was shown by a number of tweets that joked about this very form of method acting, which has been called dangerous and silly by other actors.

However you see the meme, it’s no doubt one of the most confusing viral jokes to grace Twitter in recent weeks. We would say in recent years, but going by Twitter’s standards, we know that to be just as false a statement as those original parody photos.

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