The rise and fall of Morgan Spurlock: How Supersize Me star went from groundbreaking filmmaker to MeToo target

Morgan Spurlock catapulted into public consciousness after his documentary Super Size Me demonstrated the swift and drastic impact of eating McDonald’s fast food three times a day for a month straight in 2004.

Much to his viewers’ surprise, Spurlock later opened a fast food restaurant of his own in 2016, which he claimed to be more “humane” than other chains.

A year later, the filmmaker outed himself for sexual misconduct in the wake of the #MeToo movement and stepped down from his production company Warrior Poets. He was sued by investors of his upcoming projects and ceased to make documentaries altogether.

Just seven years after his early retirement, Spurlock has died aged 53 from complications of cancer. “Morgan gave so much through his art, ideas, and generosity. The world has lost a true creative genius and a special man,” his brother Craig said on Friday, 24 May. “I am so proud to have worked together with him.”

In the wake of the documentary maker’s death, here are the moments that charted his rise to fame and his subsequent notoriety.


Spurlock gained global fame in 2004 with the release of his documentary Super Size Me. For the film, the director ate 90 meals – including burgers, french fries, breakfast sandwiches and flapjacks – at McDonald’s, which he said was the amount an ordinary person might eat in eight years. After the month was over, Spurlock had gained two stone and had hugely increased cholesterol.

Super Size Me, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, sparked international debate and earned Spurlock an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature. The documentary earned more than $20m worldwide, putting Spurlock on the path to becoming one of the most high-earning non-fiction filmmakers ever.

Morgan Spurlock became one of the highest-earning documentary filmmakers ever (AP)
Morgan Spurlock became one of the highest-earning documentary filmmakers ever (AP)


In the 13 years following the release of Super Size Me, Spurlock made almost 70 documentary films and TV series with his production company Warrior Poets. The topics of Spurlock’s projects were almost always controversial.

In 2005, Spurlock shone a light on immigrant labour with his TV series 30 Days, which saw participants immerse themselves in a particular lifestyle for one month. Three years later, a film about the US war in Afghanistan called Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden followed. He exposed the world of product placement with his 2011 meta film The Greatest Movie Ever Sold and found surprising stories of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride for his 2014 series 7 Deadly Sins.

“I never wanted to do anything else,” Spurlock told The Guardian of the entertainment business in 2012. “I was awkward as a kid. I wasn’t the best looking or the most athletic or the funniest – I was just persistent and tenacious.”


Spurlock in ‘Super Size Me’ (Roadside/Goldwyn/Kobal/Shutterstock)
Spurlock in ‘Super Size Me’ (Roadside/Goldwyn/Kobal/Shutterstock)

Spurlock’s final project was a sequel to Super Size Me called Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!, which looked at the ways the fast food industry had rebranded itself as healthier since his original film.

The same year, Spurlock launched his own fast food restaurant: Holy Chicken!. He claimed the eatery was a more “humane” fast-food option with menus designed to highlight certain regulations he claimed fast-food chains sidestepped.

"We are ultimately going to be the first honest fast food restaurant,” he told Today. “We are going to set the record straight.”


When the international #MeToo movement gained traction in 2017, Spurlock admitted to a history of sexual misconduct, including an allegation of rape and a settlement for sexual harassment.

In a blog post, the filmmaker declared he was “part of the problem”.

“As I sit around watching hero after hero, man after man, fall at the realisation of their past indiscretions, I don’t sit by and wonder ‘who will be next?’ I wonder, ‘when will they come for me?’” he wrote.

Spurlock admitted a girl in his class at college had written a story accusing him of raping her. He revealed the woman had “pushed” him off her but they began “fooling around” again. He added when she “cried” he had tried to “comfort” her.

The director also said he had paid his former female assistant to keep silent about his sexual harassment of her after he called her “sex pants” and “hot pants” repeatedly around the office.

Spurlock, who was married twice, went on to admit he had “been unfaithful to every wife and girlfriend I have ever had”.

Speculating as to what drove him to his actions, the filmmaker revealed he had been sexually abused as a child and a teenager, and said his father had left his mother when he was young.

The filmmaker stepped down from the helm of his production company, which he co-founded with Jeremy Chilnick in 2004, after his confession was published online.

Spurlock was then sued by Turner Entertainment Networks (TEN), who claimed the blog post scuppered their upcoming project with the director.


A year and a half after his #MeToo confession, Spurlock told Business Insider he had confessed to the rape and sexual harassment allegations against him because he felt he had made “behavioural missteps” that were worse than those of other people being cancelled.

“I felt I should just admit this, I should own up to it. I should say that I can do better,” he said. “I thought some people would get upset. I thought some things may go away. I never thought it would be [a] complete slash and burn of everything. Within eight days, our whole company was decimated.”


The filmmaker’s family announced the news of Spurlock’s death, revealing he died “peacefully” on Thursday 23 May, “surrounded by family and friends in New York from complications of cancer”.

Spurlock’s brother Craig said: “It was a sad day, as we said goodbye to my brother Morgan. Morgan gave so much through his art, ideas, and generosity. The world has lost a true creative genius and a special man. I am so proud to have worked together with him.”