Here's A Question: Who The Hell Is The "Fatties" Editor?

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I ask because, well, that's where this started, isn't it? When Maura Kelly unwisely decided to proceed with articulating her disgust with "fatties," it was because her editor brought it up.


It's perhaps lost in the deafening roar of everything that was wrong with Kelly's now-infamous piece — titled "Should 'Fatties' Get a Room? (Even on TV?)" — but in the very first sentence Kelly indicates that this idea of being "grossed out" by "fatties" was not initially hers. As is often the case in spaces where ideas are percolated, there was more than one person in this room:

The other day, my editor asked me, "Do you really think people feel uncomfortable when they see overweight people making out on television?"

If this is true, it suggests that Kelly didn't exactly roll out of bed one day, fire up her computer, and send off a pitch to her editor: Hey, I've got a great idea Marie Claire might be interested in! Don't you hate how fat people are so fat? And how they insist on walking about in broad daylight? I'd love to write this for you... Yeah, no. It doesn't happen like that. Kelly's ignorance — which, to be fair, was clearly a preexisting condition — was coaxed out and placed in the spotlight thanks to an editor.

Maura Kelly has since apologized for her post, and Marie Claire's editor-in-chief, Joanna Coles, has more or less stood by the work (without actually saying whether or not she agreed with it). But there's a chain of editors between Kelly and Coles, and I'm willing to bet a significant amount of money on the fact that Coles did not see the article—at least not in its finished form—before it went live on the site. Nor do I think Coles was the one who decided that the issue of whether or not one is "grossed out" by fat was something best addressed by a blogger who's an openly recovering anorexic. And if I'm wrong, well, damn, Hearst, you've got an even bigger problem on your hands.

Maura Kelly is someone's writer...whose? Our various emails to Marie Claire editors, including the online editor, have gone unanswered, but if you have any insights, email me at

(Oh, and if you happen to be in midtown right now, there's a protest outside the Hearst building at 6:00 PM. Send pics if you've got 'em.)



What Was Marie Claire Thinking With This "Fatties" Piece?
Marie Claire Responds To "Fatties" Controversy
Marie Claire's Controversy Counterpoint
Watch the TV Clip of Two People Kissing That Has Marie Claire So Grossed Out
Protest At Marie Claire's Offices
If You're Fat-Phobic, You're Also An Ignorant, Bigoted Idiot




Ok, I'm gonna step in it here, but it should be said. The outrage at WHAT Maura Kelly wrote, or, in another case, what Juan Williams said, is totally justified. But the outrage THAT is was said seems less justified. The truth is , in both cases a much needed debate was opened up as a result. Lots and lots of otherwise good people have phobias or discomfort with people that they should be tolerant of. Saying that watching large people kiss makes you uncomfortable, or that seeing someone in Muslim attire on a plane frightens you is not a good attitude to have, but if that really is your feeling then you should be able to express that, as long as you are willing to schooled on why its wrong. These were not statements made out of some hatred (as in "I hate fat people") , they were honest feelings expressing a personal fear or discomfort. We have a massive problem that too many people are afraid to express their phobias, so instead of letting them out into the open where they can be exposed to reason and truth, people just hold onto them and continue through life quietly prejudiced, refusing to hire overweight people or Muslims when given the chance, not voting for prop measures that would legalize workplace enforcement of rules protecting people from these prejudices, etc.. We have to give people (I'm not talking about the hate-filled lunatic rants, just regular people with just enough fear and misunderstanding to make life less tolerant) the room to express their fears so that they can be responded to in a way that creates one of those teachable moments. I don't believe for a moment that Juan Williams or Maura Kelly or her editor fester some evil hatred in their hearts, and I also believe that in both cases these individuals are eminently open to letting reason and fairness change their minds. But if they are not free, in a fee society with a free press, to express their fears and misunderstandings, how are we ever gonna correct them.