Rex Reed is refusing to back down in his ongoing feud with actress Melissa McCarthy. The New York Observer film critic, who penned a scathing review about McCarthy and her role in No. 1 comedy Identity Thief earlier this year, is standing by his offensive statements, he tells Us Weekly.
"I can only repeat what I have said before — that I do not have, nor have I ever had, anything personal against people who suffer from obesity," he wrote to Us in an email. "What I object to is the disgusting attempt to pretend obesity is funny. It is not remotely humorous, and every obese comedian who ever made jokes about the disease are now dead from strokes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes."
"As a critic whose opinions are constitutionally protected by law, I stand by all of my original remarks about Melissa McCarthy's obesity, which I consider about as amusing as cancer, and apologize for nothing," he concluded.
In February, the film critic slammed McCarthy, calling the Bridesmaids actress "tractor-sized, a "female hippo," and a "screeching, humongous creep."
Reed's comments immediately outraged fellow industry insiders and fans alike, many of whom criticized Reed for being unabashedly mean-spirited.
"It's fair to comment on any actor's appearance if it's relevant to the character the actor is playing, the performance, and how that actor's physical traits add to or detract from the performance," veteran film critic Richard Roeper told Us exclusively. "But this just smacks of mean-spirited name-calling in lieu of genuine criticism."
Director Paul Feig, who worked with McCarthy on box office hit Bridesmaids, was a little less forgiving with his words.
"For his catty and school bully name-calling of the supremely talented Melissa McCarthy, I cordially invite Mr. Rex Reed to go f–k himself," he tweeted.
McCarthy herself remained mum on the matter for a few months, and finally spoke out about the incident in a June 13 interview with the New York Times.
"I felt really bad for someone who is swimming in so much hate," she told the paper. "I just thought, that's someone who's in a really bad spot, and I am in such a happy spot. I laugh my head off every day with my husband and my kids who are mooning me and singing me songs."
Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!