Erasure

Rebel Wilson apologizes for apparently ignoring the contributions of black plus-size actresses

Rebel Wilson (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Veuve Clicquot)

Pitch Perfect star Rebel Wilson has issued an apology for falsely claiming that she was “the first ever plus-sized girl to be the star of a romantic comedy” — as well as for blocking critics who called to her attention the contributions of plus-size black actresses such as Queen Latifah and Mo’Nique.

After declaring herself the first plus-size woman to star in a Rom-Com during an appearance on The Ellen Show last week, Wilson initially stood by her claim in posts made on social media even after Twitter users noted that Queen Latifah and Mo’Nique had been playing lead roles in romantic comedies such as The Last Holiday, Just Wright, and Phat Girlz since 2006. In her initial response to the criticism, Wilson tweeted that there was “a slight grey area” because she felt “it was questionable” whether Queen Latifah and Mo’Nique “were plus size when filming” or whether the films themselves were labeled as “studio Rom-Com with a sole lead.”

Social media users were unimpressed by Wilson’s hedging. They were even less impressed when she began blocking Twitter users who called on her to acknowledge the contributions of plus-size black actresses — including popular social media personality Nabela Noor. Adding to the controversy was that Wilson appeared to be focusing on blocking people of color from criticizing her, while comments from white critics were allowed to stand or given a response.

“What troubles me is that this statement erases the contributions of extremely prominent women that have made a big, big, big mark for plus-sized women,” explained Noor in a video that has since been viewed upwards of 297,000 times. “It’s really unfortunate when fellow actors and actresses do not understand those contributions or do not recognize them and attempt to erase them. It’s important to recognize who paved that path.”

Mo’Nique herself chimed in as well, telling Wilson to “not allow this business to erase our talent with giving grey areas and technicalities” and to “take a moment and know the history.” Wilson responded to Mo’Nique, saying that she didn’t intend “to erase anyone else’s achievements, and that “I adore you and Queen Latifah so so much.”

Wilson later issued a lengthy apology, acknowledging that she had “blocked people on Twitter because I was hurting from the criticism, but those are the people I actually need to hear from more, not less.”

“In a couple of well-intentioned moments, hoping to lift my fellow plus sized women up, I neglected to show the proper respect to those who climbed this mountain before me like Mo’Nique, Queen Latifah, Melissa McCarthy, Ricki Lake and likely many others,” tweeted Wilson on Monday. “With the help of some very compassionate and well-thought out responses from others on social media, I now realize what I said was not only wrong but also incredibly hurtful.”

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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