The actress explained the encounter during an appearance on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show.'
In the last five years, Melissa McCarthy has gone from a relative unknown to one of the busiest movie stars in the world. Considering the biases that still exists in Hollywood, it's no small feat for a 44-year-old woman to play the lead role in a major film, and she has in several. Her new movie Spy comes out in just a few weeks, and McCarthy went on Ellen to promote it, but also took a moment to address an incident that made the news last September.
The actress was confronted at the Toronto International Film Festival by a critic who had written a scathing review of her film Tammy. Specifically, this person had taken potshots at McCarthy's appearance in the movie, saying that her husband shouldn't direct her in movies, because he allowed her to look too unattractive. When they came face-to-face, McCarthy confronted him, saying, "Just know that every time you write stuff, every young girl in this country reads that and they just get a little bit chipped away." They discussed the critic's daughter, and how he would feel if someone told her what he had told McCarthy. In the end, the two found common ground and parted without ill will.
The double standard McCarthy faces is one that's bad for both women and comedy. Part of her success comes from the fact that she is willing to portray schlubby characters with poor grooming, no social skills, and serious self-esteem issues. This is a skill that male comedic actors are revered for, but female actors who master it are criticized and mocked as though it's not a character at all. Meanwhile, Hollywood studios claim that women can't carry those types of comedies, just because they're rarely allowed to even try.
With the success she's found, McCarthy has done as much as any other person to fight that bias, but sometimes leading by example isn't enough. That's why it's great to see her using her celebrity status to make a clear and impassioned point about the issue. Let's hope lots of young girls watched and were inspired to grow up and play funny weirdos too.