Why anyone would think it’s socially acceptable to publicly criticize someone else’s body, we can’t fathom. But it happened (once again) on Friday, when for some bizarre reason, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace and radio talk show host Mike Gallagher felt at liberty to critique Kelly Clarkson’s post-baby body on the air.
“Have you seen Kelly Clarkson? … Holy cow, did she blow up,” Gallagher said.
“Kelly Clarkson’s got a lovely voice,” Wallace replied. And then came this dig: “She could stay off the deep-dish pizza for a little while.”
“Well, she had a baby, but man,” Gallagher added.
Their comments quickly went viral, and later that day one of Wallace’s colleagues, Greta Van Susteren, wrote a blog post calling for Wallace to apologize. On Sunday, he did. “I admire [Clarkson’s] remarkable talent and that should have been the focus of any discussion about her,” he told People in a statement.
Fortunately Gallagher saw the light, too. In a long apology on his show this morning, he admitted he’d done a good deal of soul-searching over the weekend: “The story went all over the world. It’s a bizarre feeling to get Google alerts and read your name in foreign languages…I really deserve all the flack that I've gotten.”
He went on to say that the experience has changed him on a deep level: “It’s time that I recognize that my words can hurt people. And there is no reason to be mean-spirited or to attack somebody personally. There’s no reason to be gratuitous…I don’t want to be a person who tears people down.”
Clarkson hasn’t commented on the incident, but on an episode of The Ellen Degeneres Show that aired Thursday, the ‘Heartbeat Song’ singer and new mom (her daughter, River, will turn one this June) reflected on the body-shaming she’s been hearing since she first appeared on American Idol 13 years ago.
“I was the biggest girl in the show too,” she recalls. “And I wasn’t big, but people would call me big. Because I was the biggest one on Idol, and I’ve kind of always gotten that.”
Clarkson, now 32, has developed the perfect perspective: “We are who we are. Whatever size. And it doesn’t mean that we’re gonna be that forever.”
Our bodies change with time, and as we pass through phases, she pointed out: “Sometimes we’re more fit. Like especially me, I’m such a creative person that I yo-yo. Sometimes I’m more fit and I get into kickboxing hardcore. And then sometimes I don’t, and I’m like…'I’d rather have wine.'”
Yep, sounds familiar! As is her style, Clarkson keeps it real in the face of ignorant criticism and negativity. Tonight we’ll be raising a glass to her.