Rebel Wilson faced considerable criticism for proclaiming herself as the “first-ever plus-sized” lead in a romantic comedy, and her subsequent explanation only garnered her additional backlash. Fans of Rebel know she is no stranger to contention and controversy.
In May 2015, Women’s Magazine published an article in Australia claiming that Wilson had lied about a few crucial details of her life, including her age, upbringing, and name.
Wilson responded with a lawsuit which she won but was later forced to pay back a substantial sum. And now, she’s dealing with a new batch of problems.
The 38-year-old Australian actress will star in the upcoming film, Isn’t It Romantic, about a New Yorker who bumps her head and wakes up in a world characterized by romantic-comedy clichés and jokes. During her appearence on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Rebel said she was “proud to be the first-ever plus-sized girl to be the star of a romantic comedy.”
Following her comments on Ellen’s show, Twitter and other social media platforms quickly picked up on the remarks, with users pointing out there has actually been many other films with plus-sized leads.
For one, Just Wright and Last Holiday starring Queen Latifah, as well as Phat Girlz with Mo’Nique. The Twitter commenter, Halfapintdoll, wrote that Queen Latifah and Mo’Nique had leads in romcoms way before she did.
Hey girl! Yeah I of course know of these movies but it was questionable as to whether: 1. Technically those actresses were plus size when filming those movies or 2. Technically those films are catorgorized/billed as a studio rom-com with a sole lead. So there’s a slight grey area
— Rebel Wilson (@RebelWilson) November 1, 2018
In response, Rebel said that technically those actresses weren’t plus-sized when filming, and those movies weren’t “categorized/billed” as romantic-comedies.
People online then accused her of “erasing” the accomplishments made by African-American women. Mo’Nique herself criticized Wilson, and said, “let’s please not allow this business to erase our talent.”
Wilson subsequently apologized, saying it was never her intention to leave out the accomplishments of women of color. The Pitch Perfect star went on to say that she supports everything plus-sized women have done over the years.
As most know, the body positivity movement has really picked up steam, including with the rise of supermodel Ashley Graham, and the inclusion of other “plus-sized” figures. The movement has intensified further following the beginning of the #MeToo phenomena beginning in late 2017.