Do you happen to remember back in February when New York Observer movie critic Rex Reed wrote a scathing review of Identity Thief in which he attacked actress Melissa McCarthy for her weight? It's clear from the writeup that he hated the movie, but for some reason, he got awfully personal about McCarthy's body size in the process of criticizing the film, referring to her as "cacophonous, tractor-sized," "a screeching, humongous creep, "a female hippo," and "a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success."
I'm sorry McCarthy has even been asked to publicly respond to the review, but now that she's broken her silence on her reaction to his insults, it's worth sharing. Because not only did she take the high road, she did an amazing job of pointing out the damage fat-shaming comments like Reed's can cause.
Reed's review made headlines for his jaw-dropping hateful commentary against McCarthy, causing many fellow celebrities to speak out against his choice of words. Trainer Jillian Michaels called it "just plain cruelty," and added,
That kind of prejudice is wrong in every possible way. I'm here to say when you do things like that, it's spreading harm and it's hurtful and it's prejudice.
Reed told a radio station that, essentially, he stood behind his nasty remarks:
My point was that I object to using health issues like obesity as comic talking points. She is basing her career on being obnoxious and being overweight. And I don't think that's funny. I have too many friends that have died of obesity-related illnesses, heart problems and diabetes, and I have actually lost friends to this...I don't care how much she weighs. I don't care how much Melissa McCarthy weighs. She wants to be fat? (...) she's crying all the way to the bank.
As for McCarthy herself, she addressed Reed's comments for the first time in a June 13 interview with The New York Times. She said that her first reaction to the review was "Really? Why would someone O.K. that?" before going on to consider the source of the insults:
I felt really bad for someone who is swimming in so much hate. I just thought, that’s someone who’s in a really bad spot, and I am in such a happy spot. I laugh my head off every day with my husband and my kids who are mooning me and singing me songs.
She added that if the reviewed had happened 20 years ago, "it may have crushed me." But now that she's raising young daughters in "a strange epidemic of body image and body dysmorphia," she says,
(Comments like Reed's) just add to all those younger girls, that are not in a place in their life where they can say, "That doesn’t reflect on me." That makes it more true. It means you don’t actually look good enough.
Bravo to Melissa McCarthy -- her response was both classy and spot-on, and I hope Reed takes it to heart. His review was disgusting, showed a sincere lack of creativity on his part to focus on slamming the size of the actress instead of the quality of the film, and I'm pretty sure NO ONE buys his explanation that he resorted to schoolyard insults because he's concerned about obesity health issues.
What do you think of McCarthy's comeback to Reed's fat-shaming review?
Image via Identity Thief