Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.

Arts and Entertainment

Melissa McCarthy 'Felt Bad' For The Critic Who Called Her A Hippo

Melissa McCarthy (Helga Esteb /
Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

Back in February, film critic Rex Reed took to the pages of The New York Observer and described Melissa McCarthy, in her performance in "Identity Theft," as "tractor-sized" and a "female hippo."

They were words that should have been left in Reed's tiny, vile little mind, but they weren't, and at first, McCarthy stayed mum about the commentary.

But in a recent interview with the New York Times, she finally came out with a response, and it's as thoughtful as Reed's article was douche-y.

At first, she says, she was shocked that the words had made it past an editor:

Support for LAist comes from
“Really?...Why would someone O.K. that?”

Then, she throws this epic back-handed pity party:

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.

The actress proceeds to get serious for a minute, noting that part of the reason she can laugh off Reed's criticism is that she's gotten more confident with age, but adding that his comments still contribute to a culture where girls believe that their worth is based on their size and their looks:

Had this occurred when she was 20, Ms. McCarthy said, “it may have crushed me.” But now, as a mother raising two young daughters in “a strange epidemic of body image and body dysmorphia,” she said articles like that “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,” she said. “It means you don’t actually look good enough.”

In short, McCarthy: 1, Reed: 0, and yet, it still feels kind of gross that papers like the Observer are running shit like this. Mocking someone's weight isn't a movie critique. It's a dick move. And dick moves aren't usually the kind of thing that warrant being published in nationally distributed newspapers.