By Tricia Fulks

 

CBS

"Mike and Molly" is a new sitcom on CBS. Photo from CBS.

I remember first hearing the story on CNN back in October. If it wasn’t for my cousin linking to the controversial post on her Facebook again today, it would have remained a distant memory.

Marie Claire columnist and blogger Maura Kelly wrote a post on her “A Year of Living Flirtatiously” blog Oct. 25 that sparked so many reactions the post was later updated with an apology note, protestors gathered outside the publication’s offices and other media outlets found different story angles in the controversy’s wake.

In a post entitled “Should ‘Fatties’ Get a Room? (Even on TV?)”, Kelly writes about the new show Mike & Molly, which, according to the show’s site, is a “comedy about a working class Chicago couple who find love at an Overeater Anonymous meeting.”

She writes about being “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.” Kelly started out the blog attempting to make the case that an obsession with being slim and trim is just that – an obsession – but she takes it a step further saying the show implicitly promotes obesity.

“Yes, anorexia is sick, but at least some slim models are simply naturally skinny. No one who is as fat as Mike and Molly can be healthy. And obesity is costing our country far more in terms of all the related health problems we are paying for, by way of our insurance, than any other health problem, even cancer.”

So maybe she attempted to go in the right direction. But she went way off that track and found herself in trouble with the over 3,000 commenters who decided to take advantage of the open forum.

“GetGoing14307” posted on Nov. 12, two and a half weeks after the blog was originally published:

“As a person who usually doesn’t comment, I am amazed that this post was ever published. How do you feel Maura Kelly that this post is what you are known for? … Why, of all the things to promote in the world, like charity, empathy, forgiveness would you spew the kind of hate to people you don’t even know. To judge someone without knowing  their life story, just on the way (they) look and promoting that attitude with this point amazes me?”

But not all of Kelly’s 3,818 commenters (and climbing) were up in arms over her rant.

Commenter “sphairistike” wrote, also on Nov. 12, that “fatties make it sound like cramming twinkies down their throats is comparable to a person have cancer or cerebral palsy … mk was anorexic, wheres the fatties compassion for her??”

And commenters even took issue with one another.

“jennieana” fired back at “sphairistike” calling her a “dumb dumb ignorant woman” and went on to say her problem with the post is judging individuals based on their looks.

And, almost four weeks after the fact, commenters are frequenting Kelly’s more recent posts, unrelated to her Mike & Molly fiasco, and still leaving comments for her.

In a post she published today about marriage, one commenter posted, “I am overweight and I dont think marriage has been legalized in my state yet for us.”

So it has to be asked, did this post ruin Kelly’s career (even though she apologized through the same public forum that got her in trouble in the first place)? Bloggers can write and update a post in no time, but should an editor be consulted on sensitive issues like this? And even though we have the First Amendment to protect speech and the press, did Kelly go too far? Did she err on the side of bullying?

 

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