Elle is saying not to read too much into Melissa McCarthy‘s wardrobe on the cover of its Women in Hollywood issue.
Controversy erupted online over the cover, which shows McCarthy completely covered by an overcoat, in stark comparison to the rest of the magazine’s other covers for the issue, featuring Reese Witherspoon, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Shailene Woodley and Naomie Harris.
While McCarthy is nearly completely covered, the other stars are showing plenty of skin, leading some to accuse the magazine of trying to hide McCarthy’s fuller figure. Slate’s June Thomas was the most explicit in her accusations:
This year, Elle’s token plus-size cover girl is McCarthy, who was photographed in a Marina Rinaldi coat so huge that she could hide her Mike and Molly co-star Billy Gardel underneath. McCarthy’s hair covers a quarter of her gorgeous face, and with her hands stuffed deep into her coat pockets, the only visible flesh is a tiny triangle between the coat’s lapels and the briefest glimpse of calf. Perhaps photographer Thomas Whiteside only knows how to photograph the usual stick insect models, because he clearly has no clue how to highlight McCarthy’s curves.
In response to the critiques, Elle has issued a statement which doesn’t deny the magazine was trying to hide a less-than-rail-thin cover model, but basically blames it on McCarthy herself. “On all of our shoots, our stylists work with the stars to choose pieces they feel good in, and this is no different: Melissa loved this look, and is gorgeous on our cover. We are thrilled to honor her as one of our Women in Hollywood this year.”
It’s not the first time controversy has erupted over a photo of McCarthy, many were angered by the UK posters for The Heat which featured a noticably Photoshopped version of McCarthy.