In a new interview with InStyle magazine, Melissa McCarthy opens up about the body shaming she experienced early on in her career. After her breakout role in 2011’s Bridesmaids, the actress says she became a target for offensive questions at press junkets.
During one instance, McCarthy recalls a journalist flat out calling her “grotesque.”
“Years ago I was at a press conference for either The Heat or Tammy and somebody from a very big organization kept asking me, ‘Why do you always feel the need to be so grotesque?’” McCarthy tells InStyle. “It was a huge interview with maybe 100 people in the room, and he was sneering.”
She remained calm, though. “What are we talking about? I can’t answer your question because I don’t understand it,” McCarthy said in response to the reporter. He then said, “You look sloppy, you’re not wearing any makeup, your hair is not done, you’re yelling at people.”
McCarthy took this opportunity to point out the double standard between men and women on film. “I was like, ‘OK, so have you ever asked this of a guy? I’m playing a character. You need to get out more if you don’t think there are real women like that,’” she said. “The journalist goes, ‘Oh, fine, I’m aggressive, call it whatever you want. If you don’t want to answer the questions, you shouldn’t come to the panel.’”
But the Can You Ever Forgive Me? actress didn’t back down. “I was like, ‘I really want to answer your questions. 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,’” she said.
McCarthy received a similar line of rude questioning while promoting Bridesmaids seven years ago. “The reporter kept asking, ‘Are you shocked that you actually work in this business at your tremendous size?'” she recalls. “I just remember all the blood drained out of me. I thought, With my tremendous size, I could tackle you so quickly.”
This conversation happened on camera, but producers from the outlet assured McCarthy they’d never air the journalist’s remarks. “It happens all the time, to the point where it’s fascinating because they don’t do it to men,” she said. “Not to be a jerk or single him out, but when John Goodman was heavier, did anybody ever talk about his girth?”