Melissa McCarthy keeps being fat-shamed, and her responses are always epic

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Hannah-Rose Yee

The actress has always shut down the critics who want to comment on her appearance. Here’s some of her best clapbacks to date.

Melissa McCarthy is one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars. Her movies have made more than $1 billion at the box office, and she’s just picked up Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations for her first dramatic role as Lee Israel in Can You Ever Forgive Me?

And yet critics, and mostly male ones at that, continue to fat and body shame McCarthy during interviews. This is a regular occurrence, dating all the way back to McCarthy’s eventually Oscar-nominated performance in Bridesmaids.

But it’s one that McCarthy has no time for. The actress repeatedly shuts down anyone who makes disparaging comments on her appearance in the most hilarious, most awe-inspiring of ways. Here is a brief selection of McCarthy’s best clapbacks.

1. When a critic told her that she was only a good actor when she looked “attractive”

In a review of her film Tammy, directed by her husband Ben Falcone, one critic – who will remain unnamed – said that McCarthy was only a good actor when she looked “attractive”. Later, at the Toronto Film Festival, that same critic sidled up to McCarthy to talk to her about her latest film St. Vincent and the actress confronted the reviewer about his comments.

Susan Sarandon and Melissa McCarthy in Tammy

“Are you the one who wrote I was only a good actor when I looked more attractive and that my husband should never be allowed to direct me because he allowed me to look so homely?” she asked them. “Would you say that to any guy? When John C. Reilly – or any actor – is playing a character that is depressed and dejected, would you say, ‘Well you look terrible!’?”

She also told the reviewer to “watch what you say to [your daughter]. Do you tell her she’s only worthwhile or valid when she’s pretty?”

2. When someone described her as “tractor-sized” and “a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success”

It was Rex Reed from the New York Observer who said these hateful words about McCarthy in 2013, to which she was characteristically magnanimous.  

Melissa McCarthy and Jason Statham in Spy

“Why would someone OK that?” she said of the comments. “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.”

3. When haters get her down, she switches lanes 

Speaking to People magazine, McCarthy said that she doesn’t like to get “mad” at her critics. “I always feel like, ‘Oh, I hope you meet someone soon that you can talk to, someone that really makes you laugh. I just root for that person to find a little joy… This has been a tough chunk of history for women. But at one point I just said, ‘I’m not going to wallow in this anymore.’”

4. When a critic asked her why she “felt the need to be so grotesque?”

At a big press conference with about 100 reporters from different publications, McCarthy was asked: “Why do you always feel the need to be so grotesque? You look sloppy, you’re not wearing any makeup, your hair is not done, you’re yelling at people.” 

Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in The Heat

Speaking to InStyle today, McCarthy recalled that she responded: “OK, so have you ever asked this of a guy?” 

“I’m playing a character,” she added. “You need to get out more if you don’t think there are real women like that… I’m sorry I didn’t wear makeup in a part. I’m sorry I didn’t look pleasant for you. But I also don’t think you should be here writing about movies.” 

5. When an interviewer expressed shock that she was working “in this business at your tremendous size”

During an interview for Bridesmaids, McCarthy was asked by a male journalist: “Are you shocked that you actually work in this business at your tremendous size?” 

Melissa McCarthy with Ellie Kemper and Rose Byrne in Bridesmaids

McCarthy’s response was truly inspired. “I just remember all the blood drained out of me,” she told InStyle. “I thought ‘With my tremendous size I could tackle you so quickly.’ There were two cameras on him, and one was on me, and he went back to that question three or four times, and I just kept talking about the script or how fun [director] Paul Feig was. He was looking around like, ‘She’s crazy’.”

“When we left, their producer was horrified and said ‘We’ll never play what he said. I’m so sorry.’ But it happens all the time, to the point where it’s fascinating because they don’t do it to men. Not to be a jerk or single him out, but when John Goodman was heavier, did anybody ever talk about his girth?”

Images: Getty


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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer, podcaster and recent Australian transplant in London. You can find her on the internet talking about pop culture, food and travel.

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