We haven’t had a good blogging fail in a long time. But Maura Kelly of Marie Claire has delivered a major blog screw-up that’s making headlines around the globe. The ladies of The View, the wise sages at Fox News and everybody in between already has weighed in about Ms. Kelly’s controversial post, which contained some pretty heavy food for thought about obesity. More importantly, the readers and consumers of Marie Claire have bitten back and things have officially gotten ugly.
The Marie Claire writer found herself in deep doo-doo after she blogged about how she found the stars of CBS’s Mike and Molly to be “aesthetically displeasing.” She likened watching the overweight stars of the hit new sitcom to “watching a drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroin addict slumping in a chair.” The sensitively-titled “Should Fatties Get a Room?” post took the show to task for what Kelly believes is glamorizing obesity. She went on to wax philosophically: “Yes I think I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other.” Yikes. Marie Claire, who rarely registers a blip on our collective media radar aside from its involvement with Project Runway, now has found itself washing its hands of Kelly’s opinions – even though Marie Claire editors approved the blog before it was published. Naturally, readers have responded, the media has ran with the story and (big surprise) Kelly has now written an apology on the Marie Claire website attached to the original blog.
So what’s the lesson here, kids? Controversial topics that alienate a group of consumers are the tackiest, most dated and frankly stupid kinds of blogs – just the kind that make people loathe the genre. Bloggers have a reputation for being snide haters in search of attention, like Kelly. While this may or may not be good for her career, Marie Claire the brand is the one who really screwed up. The magazine’s site undoubtedly has seen more traffic, but it’s highly unlikely that saying “I hate fat people” will translate into magazine sales.
With the mass amounts of mind-rotting, poorly-written tripe that clogs the Internet, content that enriches our online experience by being thoughtful, generally humorous or compelling is more likely to draw in repeat readers and more revenue. Maire Claire’s choice to publish a piece that bullies a section of its audience is a reminder that no one can afford to alienate consumers, regardless of how many headlines it makes.
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