Yesterday afternoon my Twitter feed was on fire about a rather offensive article that’d been posted on Marie Claire’s—of all magazines!—website. In “Should “Fatties” Get a Room? (Even on TV?)”, author Maura Kelly openly voices her disgust with overweight individuals displaying intimacy in public, and on television. The conversation was sparked in response to an article on CNN about CBS sitcom Mike & Molly, a comedic program about couples who meet at an Overeaters Anonymous group. While CNN makes a point to be respectful in their discussion of how plus-sized actors’ weight unrightfully becomes the focal point in many of their roles, Kelly of Marie Claire is downright rude. Her anti-fat rant included such poignant lines as:
“No one who is as fat as Mike and Molly can be healthy. And obesity is costing our country far more in terms of all the related health problems we are paying for, by way of our insurance, than any other health problem, even cancer.”
” . . . yes, 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.”
” . . . 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.”
” . . . I have a few friends who could be called plump. I’m not some size-ist jerk. . . . But . . . I think obesity is something that most people have a ton of control over. It’s something they can change, if only they put their minds to it.”
Really, Maura?! All I could do is shake my head in shame upon reading blow after blow, each line more callous than the one prior. Ironically enough, she concluded the post by asking for the agreement and feedback of readers:
“What do you guys think? Fat people making out on TV—are you cool with it? Do you think I’m being an insensitive jerk?”
YES! You absolutely are. And the commenters (nearly 800 of them by now) sure let her have it.
Since the article was originally posted, Maura has added an updated apology and retraction of her statements. In this eye-roll-inducing letter, she speaks of how her harsh comments were likely rooted in her own struggles with weight and history of anorexia. And while I sympathize with that little tidbit of information, it’s really too little, too late. What’s been said cannot be taken back, and the hurt and offense she caused to not only overweight individuals, but loyal Marie Claire fans in general, has already been inflicted.
What are your thought’s on the article? And who should be held responsible—the author for writing it, or the magazine for publishing it?