Marie Claire, which was recently embroiled in controversy over a story about health and food bloggers, has jumped into a vat of hot water over a story called “Should ‘Fatties’ Get a Room? (Even on TV?)” Somehow, an editor looked at this story and thought the headline needed quotes around the word “Fatties,” but saw nothing else wrong with it.
The story focuses on the program Mike & Molly, which is about a couple who meet through Overeaters Anonymous.
“So anyway, 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,” the story reads.
As of this afternoon, there are more than 1,100 comments on the story, with readers saying they will cancel their subscription and otherwise expressing outrage. Editor-in-chief Joanna Coles told the blog Fashionista that the magazine has received 28,000 e-mails in response to the story and a Twitter hashtag- #unfollowmarieclaire – has started. The author, Maura Kelly, has updated the story with an apology, saying that her story may have been influenced by her own issues with food and weight.
“Believe it or not, I never wanted anyone to feel bullied or ashamed after reading this, and I sorely regret that it upset people so much. A lot of what I said was unnecessary. It wasn’t productive, either,” Kelly writes in her apology.
Readers are obviously offended and the magazine will need to reach out to both readers and non-readers with more than an online apology from the author. More than that, the magazine needs to take a look at who its readers are and what sort of stories it will publish. In the first case, the magazine defended itself, but there isn’t much recourse for this story. And the magazine’s brand may not be able to withstand the damage.
[Image via NY Daily News.]