Everyone is abuzz about an article Marie Claire blogger Maura Kelly posted stating that she is “grossed out” at the thought of watching an obese couple making out on television, specifically the couple featured in the show Mike & Molly. Kelly, who many think should be fired, goes further, admitting: “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. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I’d find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair.”
Are these comments insensitive and hurtful? Sure. But should she be fired? In my opinion, no. Here’s why:
1. Maura Kelly’s comments have started a conversation about fat discrimination — and isn’t discussion about touchy topics a good thing? By Kelly writing what many others think but don’t say, a dialogue can now take place to help eliminate myths and prejudices against overweight people.
2. Bloggers and the media make disparaging comments about underweight people all of the time. (Rachel Zoe, Nicole Richie and Lindsay Lohan when they were all at their lowest weights, for example.) I don’t recall the outrage over that. Why the double standard?
3. Read in its entirety, the post is slightly less offensive than just the excerpts making the rounds. Plus, she was being honest. That’s how she feels and she even recognizes in the post her views can be viewed as being an “insensitive jerk.” Seems these days people can’t be honest about their feelings if their feelings are not politically correct. Kind of reminds me of the Juan Williams situation — I also didn’t think he should have been fired by NPR for his candid comments.
4. We’ve all made mistakes that hurt the feelings of others. Let’s show some compassion not only for those she hurt but for Kelly herself, who surely is humiliated right now.
5. Maura Kelly has apologized. And to me, it seems sincere. Let her learn from this to be more sensitive, but don’t take her job away. When your child does something wrong, don’t you extend forgiveness and hope others will too? Kelly says in part: 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, and I sorely regret that it upset people so much. A lot of what I said was unnecessary. It wasn’t productive, either. Read her apology in full at the end of her post here.
Please know I’m not defending Kelly’s remarks, and I certainly don’t think it was a good example for teenage girls who might read Marie Claire’s web site. But I don’t think she should be fired either. What do you think?