13 Times Reporters Got Called Out For Sexist, Mean, Or Inappropriate Articles And Reviews
When a celebrity does an interview, they expect the reporter to write a story that accurately reflects the answers they gave. Likewise, an actor expects a movie critic to base their judgments on the content of the film rather than taking cheap personal shots at the performer. While these are fairly reasonable expectations, they unfortunately aren’t always met.
Here are 13 times celebs called out sexist, unfair, or gross articles and reviews:
1. THE ARTICLE: Billboard’s 2017 “Woman of the Year” profile on Selena Gomez said, “There’s a five-foot teddy bear sprawled across the kitchen floor in Selena Gomez’s North Hollywood home. ‘I know, I know,’ says Gomez, rolling her eyes, acknowledging that the stuffed animal doesn’t quite blend with the trio of armchairs nestled in the inviting, marble-accented nook. ‘It was a gift, and at first I thought, This is so ridiculous, I can’t wait until I give it away to another person.'”
The article continued, “But Gomez, 25, hasn’t let go of it — yet.”
THE CALL-OUT: Over a screenshot of the article on her Instagram story, Selena wrote, “Never will I let another human guess my words ever again. Or invite them in my home. That is so hurtful.”
“The most ‘ridiculous’ part of that is no one knowing my heart when I say things,” she added.
She then made her Instagram account private.
2. THE ARTICLE: In a 2021 cover story, Allure specifically mentioned that Halsey’s pronouns are she/they but only referred to the singer as “she” throughout the piece. The magazine also promoted the piece by posting an out-of-context quote on Twitter.
The since-deleted tweet said, “Throughout her life, @halsey has struggled with her identity as a white passing Black woman (her mother is white, and her father is Black). ‘A lot of people try to write off a lot of my experiences because I present white.'”
THE CALL-OUT: In a since-deleted series of tweets, Halsey told the magazine to “do fucking better,” writing, “First your writer made a focal point in my cover story my pronouns and you guys deliberately disrespected them by not using them in the article. If you know me at all, you know what it means to me to express this outwardly…”
They continued, “Your admin bastardized a quote where I discuss the privilege of being the white child of a Black parent and intentionally used a portion that was the antithesis of the point I was trying to make.”
She also pointed out that in the interview, she told the writer that she didn’t enjoy doing press often because she often gets “exploited and misquoted.”
“#NoMorePress goodbye ❤️,” they concluded.
THE APOLOGY: In response, Allure edited the article and tweeted, “We’ve heard your feedback, and you’re absolutely right: We messed up. We are adjusting our cover story with Halsey to use both ‘she’ and ‘they’ pronouns.”
3. THE ARTICLE: In 2020, a 2018 French Marie Claire profile on Emily Ratajkowski resurfaced on Twitter. The translated passages objectified the model and expressed shock at her intelligence.
For example, the writer, Thomas Chatterton Williams, called her “the sexiest version of a creature right on our side of humanity” and said that “her sexuality is omnipotent and animal.”
He also wrote, “The day I read that she was a fan of Chilean novelist Roberto Bolaño, my brain shorted. No matter how much she really took the time to read the 1,300 pages of [Bolaño’s novel] 2666, the mere fact that she knew his name already seemed unbelievable to me, as if we were definitely meant to get along.”
THE CALL-OUT: Retweeting the viral screenshots of the article, Emily added, “[I’d] never read this before, but I really hope this will be the last of my ‘she has breasts AND claims to read’ profiles/interviews.”
She continued, “Lots of levels of gross/embarrassing aspects to this, but the attempt at a feminist critique at the end is maybe the worst part.”
4. THE ARTICLE: In a 2022 review of Bodies Bodies Bodies for the New York Times, Lena Wilson wrote, “The only thing that really sets Bodies Bodies Bodies apart is its place in the A24 hype machine, where it doubles as a 95-minute advertisement for cleavage and Charli XCX’s latest single.”
THE CALL-OUT: In since-privated posts on Twitter and TikTok, Lena revealed that Amandla Stenberg, one of the movie’s stars, DMed her, “Ur review was great, maybe if you had gotten ur eyes off my tits, you could’ve watched the movie!”
Lena said she wished Amandla well, then blocked them. She also said that the line in her review was meant to be commentary on how A24 “objectifies young women to sell content.” She wondered if the actor would respond to other critical reviews in the same manner and alluded to “homophobia” regarding their accusation.
Addressing the situation on her Instagram stories, Amandla said, “I’m receiving a lot of commentary on the internet for being a very naughty girl and for sending a DM that I thought was hilarious. She described [the movie] as ‘a 95-minute advertisement for cleavage,’ which I thought was hilarious. I’m proud that a piece of work I was a part of was described as such in such a renowned publication. That is a really unique experience that I get to have…I thought it was hilarious. I thought because Lena is gay, and I am also gay…as gay people we would both find this comment funny. I was also curious to know what Lena would say to such a statement. Lena decided to publish it and also says that I am homophobic for saying that. The amount of commentary I receive on my boobs is so extreme… I think Lena was trying to make a comment about A24 sexualizing me…I understand the angle, [but] I can tell you I wore this tank top in this movie because me and the costume designer thought it fit the character well. Lena, I thought your review was hilarious. I thought my DM was funny. I did not mean to harass you. I do not wish you any harm. You are allowed to have your criticism on my work, and I’m allowed to have my criticisms of your work. I wish you the best.”
5. THE ARTICLE: In a 2013 review of Identity Thief for the Observer, Rex Reed wrote, “Melissa McCarthy is a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success.”
He also referred to the actor as “tractor-sized.”
THE CALL-OUT: Melissa told the New York Times, “I felt really bad for someone who is swimming in so much hate. 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.”
She also called out how public criticisms of her body could impact young women’s body image, saying, “[Articles like that] just add to all those younger girls, that are not in a place in their life where they can say, ‘That doesn’t reflect on me.’ That makes it more true. It means you don’t actually look good enough.”
THE RESPONSE: In an email, Rex told 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.”
“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,” he said. “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.”
6. THE ARTICLE: In a review for the 2014 film Tammy, an unnamed critic attacked Melissa McCarthy’s appearance in the movie.
THE CALL-OUT: At the 2015 Toronto Film Festival, the same critic praised Melissa’s new movie, St. Vincent, to her face. She asked him, “Are you the one who wrote I was only a good actor when I looked more attractive and that my husband should never be allowed to direct me because he allowed me to look so homely?”
When the critic confirmed he’d written that review, the actor continued, “Would you say that to any guy? When John C. Reilly — or any actor — is playing a character that is depressed and dejected, would you say, ‘Well, you look terrible!?’… Watch what you say to [your daughter]. Do you tell her she’s only worthwhile or valid when she’s pretty?”
7. THE ARTICLE: In a since-removed 2022 review of Turning Red, CinemaBlend managing director Sean O’Connell wrote, “I recognized the humor in the film, but connected with none of it. By rooting Turning Red very specifically in the Asian community of Toronto, the film legitimately feels like it was made for [director] Domee Shi’s friends and immediate family members. Which is fine — but also, a tad limiting in its scope.”
In a since-deleted follow-up tweet, he added, “Some Pixar films are made for universal audiences. Turning Red is not. The target audience for this one feels very specific and very narrow. If you are in it, this might work very well for you. I am not in it. This was exhausting.”
THE CALL-OUT: Rosalie Chiang, who voiced the lead character, told CBC News, “This is a coming of age film, everyone goes through this change… I think different people of different cultures are going to go through it differently, but at the end of the day, the core messiness and change is something everyone can relate to.”
Her costar Maitreyi Ramakrishnan added that the story was “universal” and that many viewers could “relate to Meilin’s story, regardless of whether you are a young Chinese girl from Canada or not.”
THE APOLOGY: On Twitter, Sean said, “I’m genuinely sorry for my Turning Red review. Thank you to everyone who has reached out with criticism, no matter how harsh. It is clear that I didn’t engage nearly enough with the movie, nor did I explain my point of view well, at all. I really appreciate your feedback.”
In a tweet sent from CinemaBlend’s main account, editor-in-chief Mack Rawden added, “We failed to properly edit this review, and it never should have gone up. We have unpublished it and assigned to someone else. We have also added new levels of editorial oversight. Thank you to everyone who spoke up.”
8. THE ARTICLE: In a 2019 profile on Maggie Gyllenhaal, Independent writer Patrick Smith said, “Talking to Maggie Gyllenhaal can be a little disorienting. She has a high-pitched, cartoonish voice, which she uses to express deep things.”
He continued, “One critic notoriously said that she possessed a ‘Kewpie-doll silliness,’ but clearly, it’s a flaw in our culture that we expect serious thoughts to be couched in sonorous tones.”
THE CALL-OUT: Maggie tweeted, “To writer @PatrickHJSmith Of course you’re free to think anything you like about the ‘silliness’ of my voice and my face. But when you open your piece in @independent commenting on that, it serves to undermine everything we spoke about.”
THE APOLOGY: Replying to her tweet, Patrick said, “I apologize if that’s how it came across. The quote you’re referring to was from another writer. I wanted to highlight it as an eg of the way you’ve been underestimated for superficial, gendered reasons.”
“I think you and your work are brilliant, which I tried to make apparent,” he concluded.
9. THE ARTICLE: In a since-deleted review of the 2015 movie Trainwreck on his website Hollywood Elsewhere, Jeffrey Wells wrote, “With Trainwreck, director Judd Apatow is once again introducing a chubby, whip-smart, not conventionally attractive, neurotically bothered female comic to a mass audience — first Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids, then Lena Dunham in HBO’s Girls, and now Amy Schumer.”
He continued, “She’s obviously sharp and clever and funny as far as the woe-is-me, self-deprecating thing goes, but there’s no way she’d be an object of heated romantic interest in the real world.”
THE CALL-OUT: In response, Amy posted a selfie with dramatically overdone makeup on Instagram, captioning it, “Loving your feedback on my appearance. Am I ok now?”
THE CALL-OUT: Sharing a screenshot of the questions and her answers, Nicola tweeted, “Magazines like this constantly reduce women to what they eat. I am not a dress size. I am not a number on a scale. I am done with a media that profits from the insecurities of women. Wonder if they’ll print it?”
An open response to an interview I was asked to do last week. Magazines like this constantly reduce women to what they eat. I am not a dress size. I am not a number on a scale. I am done with a media that profits from the insecurities of women.Wonder if they’ll print it? pic.twitter.com/aXy3d1DyCR
— Nicola Thorp (@nicolathorp_) November 28, 2018Twitter: @nicolathorp_
11. THE ARTICLE: In 2022, the Sydney Morning Herald published a since-deleted post alleging it had confirmation of Rebel Wilson’s relationship with Ramona Agruma before the actor made it public via Instagram. The article also said that the outlet had reached out to her and given her “two days to comment on her new relationship” before writing it up.
Andrew Hornery, who wrote the post, said that reaching out to the actor had been a “big mistake” on the outlet’s part.
He wrote, “Wilson opted to gazump the story, posting about her new ‘Disney Princess’ on Instagram early Friday morning. The same platform she had previously used to brag about her handsome ex-boyfriend, wealthy American beer baron Jacob Busch.”
THE CALL-OUT: On Instagram, Rebel said, “Just seeing the news that the Australian Press Council has condemned the Sydney Morning Herald and their journalists for their recent grubby behavior in trying to out my same-sex relationship. And while I didn’t personally ask for any action to be taken, I am glad that this has been officially recorded and recognized.”
She continued, “Their actions did cause Ramona and I a lot of distress, and while we’ve remained classy, there are still pains from having to rush this news publicly which we are dealing with. We move on, focusing on all the absolutely amazing new things in our life, though! Sending love to everyone.”
THE APOLOGY: At the time the original article was pulled, Andrew wrote a new post for the Sydney Morning Herald, saying, “On the weekend I wrote about the background leading to Rebel Wilson’s social media post revealing her new relationship with another woman. I have learnt some new and difficult lessons from this and want to be upfront with you about the things I got wrong. I genuinely regret that Rebel has found this hard. That was never my intention.”
He continued, “But I see she has handled it all with extraordinary grace. As a gay man, I’m well aware of how deeply discrimination hurts. The last thing I would ever want to do is inflict that pain on someone else.”
12. THE ARTICLE: In a 2020 review of Promising Young Woman for Variety, Dennis Harvey wrote, “[Carey] Mulligan, a fine actress, seems a bit of an odd choice as this admittedly many-layered apparent femme fatale — Margot Robbie is a producer here, and one can (perhaps too easily) imagine the role might once have been intended for her. Whereas with this star, Cassie wears her pickup-bait gear like bad drag; even her long blonde hair seems a put-on.”
THE CALL-OUT: Carey told the New York Times, “I read the Variety review, because I’m a weak person. And I took issue with it. It felt like it was basically saying that I wasn’t hot enough to pull off this kind of ruse.”
She added, “It wasn’t some sort of ego-wounding thing — like, I fully can see that Margot Robbie is a goddess… It drove me so crazy. I was like, ‘Really? For this film, you’re going to write something that is so transparent? Now? In 2020?’ I just couldn’t believe it.”
THE APOLOGY: Variety added this editor’s note to the review: “Variety sincerely apologizes to Carey Mulligan and regrets the insensitive language and insinuation in our review of Promising Young Woman that minimized her daring performance.”
In her Actors on Actors interview for Variety, Carey said, “l think in criticizing or sort of bemoaning a lack of attractiveness on my part in a character, it wasn’t a personal slight, it wasn’t something that I felt. It didn’t wound my ego, but it made me concerned that in such a big publication, an actress’s appearance could be criticized, and it could be that, you know, that could be accepted as completely reasonable criticism. I think it’s important to call out those things, because they seem small and they seem insignificant… I was really, really surprised and thrilled, and happy to have received an apology. I kind of found it moving, in a way, to have drawn a line under that in a good way, and know that that had an impact in a way. So it was positive.”
13. And finally, THE ARTICLE: In a 2023 Free Press post about twin basketball players/influencers Hanna and Haley Cavinder, Ethan Strauss wrote, “The Cavinder twins, the emerging oligarchs of women’s college basketball, aren’t the best players. But they might be the best-looking.”
The post article was titled, “The NCAA Has a ‘Hot Girl’ Problem.”
THE CALL-OUT: In a Twitter statement, Hanna said that “the interview from this article was obtained by a false pretense” and that “the piece disregards our work ethic and dedication toward NIL and business endeavors.”
She continued, “The subsequent article not only demeaned our athletic and business accomplishments, it furthered that narrative that hardworking, creative, and driven women can only do well if they are deemed attractive… He fails to acknowledge the young girls/women that follow us and that we work so hard to inspire. Instead he degrades us down to ‘hot girl(s).’ We agreed to do this interview and wanted to support a woman-ran news outlet. We are both disappointed and disgusted by this journalism practice and blatant sexist trope.”