USMagazine, Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 10:00am (PST)
Don't mess with Jenny McCarthy's family. One week after veteran film critic Rex Reed attacked the actress' cousin Melissa McCarthy in a scathing write-up of the movie Identity Thief, the 40-year-old former Playboy model is speaking out. And she's not mincing any words.
"[Melissa is] very talented and people know that," McCarthy told E! News of the Bridesmaids star. As for Rex Reed? "He can go to hell."
Reed, a critic for the New York Observer, has been under fire from many corners since Feb. 5, when he called Melissa McCarthy "tractor-sized" and a "female hippo" in his review of her latest hit comedy, co-starring Jason Bateman. He also accused the Oscar-nominated actress of being "a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success."
"That's obnoxious in itself," Jenny McCarthy told E! of Reed's insults. "For anyone to attack like that, it's just wrong and hurtful, and it doesn't do anyone any good."
She's not the only one outraged by Reed's review. In a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels -- who struggled with her weight as an adolescent -- also slammed the film critic for his hurtful remarks. "It's evil," Michaels told ET. "It's just plain cruelty, and it's unnecessary."
"That kind of prejudice is wrong in every possible way," the 38-year-old fitness guru added. "I'm here to say when you do things like that, it's spreading harm and it's hurtful and it's prejudice."
Reed, for his part, stands by what he said. Addressing the backlash in a radio interview with WOR 710's Mark Simone on Feb. 12, he defended his review and attempted to clarify what he meant by the comments.
"My point was that I object to using health issues like obesity as comic talking points," he said. "[Melissa McCarthy] is basing her career on being obnoxious and being overweight. And I don't think that's funny. I have too many friends that have died of obesity-related illnesses, heart problems and diabetes, and I have actually lost friends to this...I don't care how much she weighs. I don't care how much Melissa McCarthy weighs. She wants to be fat? She's crying all the way to the bank."
In fact, Identity Thief had the fifth-biggest opening ever for a non-sequel R-rated comedy. Despite a blizzard in the Northeast, the flick racked up $36.6 million in ticket sales between Feb. 8 and Feb. 10, making it the top-performing film of the weekend.