Actress Rebel Wilson recently sparked backlash when she claimed to be the first plus-size actress to star in a romantic comedy while promoting her new movie Isn’t It Romantic. As Variety notes, after Wilson made her initial comments on the October 31st episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, many on Twitter pointed out that actresses like Queen Latifah, Mo’Nique, Melissa McCarthy, and Ricki Lake had all starred in romantic comedies before her.
However, Wilson responded to the criticism by doubling down on her original comments. In a response to one viral tweet, the actress wrote that there was a “slight grey area” surrounding whether or not Queen Latifah (who starred in Last Holiday) and Mo’Nique (who was the lead in Phat Girlz) could be considered plus-size rom-com stars.
As more users, many of them women of color, noted Wilson’s erasure of black plus-size actresses, she began blocking them.
Even Mo’Nique herself took to Twitter to caution Wilson against using “grey areas and technicalities” to diminish other actresses’ achievements.
And now, in a November 5th Twitter thread, Wilson apologized both for “neglecting to show the proper respect” to her predecessors and for blocking users who tried to have a dialogue with her about her hurtful comments.
She went on to acknowledge the “very compassionate and well-thought out responses” that helped her realize that her comments had been harmful.
Starring in a romantic comedy as a plus-size woman is indeed noteworthy (because our culture still promotes a homogenous and unrealistic standard of beauty), but it’s always important to recognize the women who paved the way for others. Hopefully, Wilson has learned her lesson and will be more receptive to feedback in the future.