Marie Claire’s Maura Kelly’s Oct. 25 blog post criticizing overweight people offended many readers and led to much online criticism of the writer and the women’s magazine. She has since apologized, but even the apology has been criticized.
Kelly’s blog, “Should ‘Fatties’ Get a Room? (Even on TV?)” discussed the new CBS TV series Mike & Molly starring Melissa McCarthy, which follows “a couple who meet at an Overeaters Anonymous group.” But, Kelly generalized the blog to explain that she thinks watching overweight people make out is “gross.”
Kelly explained in her Oct. 25 blog that her blog was prompted by her editor’s asking if “people feel uncomfortable when they see overweight people making out on television?”
In response to that question, she wrote that she’d find watching “Mike” and “Molly” “doing anything” would be gross.
“I think I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other … because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I’d find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair,” Kelly opined.
She also offered to give “nutritious and fitness suggestions” and advised going to a nutritionist, personal trainer, or YMCA.
The show’s creator, Mark Roberts, called Kelly’s blog “hateful” in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
Meanwhile, Marie Claire editor Joanna Coles defended Kelly, The Huffington Post noted . “Maura Kelly is a very provocative blogger… She was an anorexic herself and this is a subject she feels very strongly about.”
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The apology is posted at the end of her blog post and hasn’t been received with open arms from Kelly critics. She apologized “for the insensitve things” she wrote and explained that she never meant for “anyone to feel bullied or ashamed after reading this.”
“A few commenters and one of my friends mentioned that my extreme reaction might have grown out of my own body issues, my history as an anorexic, and my life-long obsession with being thin. As I mentioned in the ongoing dialogue we’ve been carrying on in the comments section, I think that’s an accurate insight,” Kelly wrote.
“A lot of what I said was unnecessary. It wasn’t productive either,” Kelly added.
Billy Gardell, who plays “Mike” on Mike & Molly, seemed to forgive Kelly for her comments on CBS’ The Talk. “She made some dumb, ignorant comments, and I think the public stood up and handed it to her and let her know how out of line she was,” Gardell said on the talk show. But, he added “I don’t know anyone who hasn’t said something they wish they didn’t say.”
Others didn’t rush to forgive Kelly. Writer Margot Magowan criticized Kelly’s apology on her personal blog, Reel Girl, which was republished on SFGate.com, the website for the San Francisco Chronicle.
“Your apology should not be about attacking fat people but for acting as if it’s perfectly okay to judge a book by its cover,” Magowan wrote.
The Huffington Post’s Josh Shahryar likewise suggested Kelly had apologized differently. He proposed that Marie Claire editor Coles apologize “for letting this shameful attack on people’s image get published,” and that the blog post be removed with “a sincere apology.”