In a blog post called "Should 'Fatties' Get a Room? (Even on TV)", Marie Claire's sex and relationship blogger Maura Kelly wrote this week that she would be "grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other...I'd be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything."
The new CBS romantic comedy "Mike & Molly" features actors Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy as two people who meet and strike up a relationship at an Overeaters Anonymous group. It is watched by some 12.3 million viewers and is the most watched new comedy of the TV season that began in September.
The show follows a summer ABC Family drama series about a group of teens who are sent to a fat camp, in what appeared to be a departure from the Hollywood trend for wafer-thin actors.
Kelly called the "Mike & Molly" characters "downright obese", adding that she finds it "aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room" even in real life.
Marie Claire editor Joanna Coles said the magazine had received more than 28,000 e-mails from readers to the posting.
Kelly said on Wednesday she regretted having upset so many people. "I would really like to apologize for the insensitive things I've said in this post. Believe it or not, I never wanted anyone to feel bullied or ashamed after reading this."
The issue was among the top-trending topics on Twitter on Wednesday, with most comments negative and many writers vowing to end their subscriptions to Marie Claire.
Sharon Osbourne, "America's Got Talent" judge and co-host of female-oriented TV chat show "The Talk", said Kelly's comments had brought her close to tears. "This woman is a discredit to other women...I am now canceling my subscription to the magazine," Osbourne said in an emotional outburst on "The Talk".
Coles told the Fashionista website on Wednesday that Kelly is "a very provocative blogger" and added; "She was an anorexic herself and this is a subject she feels very strongly about."
Coles said she had not seen "Mike & Molly" but said she was "concerned about a show that makes fun of large people."
Billy Gardell, who plays Mike, told TV reporters in July that he welcomed a role that departed from the usual small parts as bad guys or grumpy neighbors that are given to large actors.
"We are fat. The show is funny," Gardell said. "Everyone else on TV is 82 lbs...This is a show where viewers can say 'I look like that' rather than 'I'll never look like that'."
Two-thirds of U.S. adults are considered to be overweight, according to official statistics from the Centers for Disease Control.
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