Film critic defends himself over Melissa McCarthy 'hippo' jibe

Rex Reed got personal in the review of her new film, but has been widely criticised

Rex Reed, the film critic who branded Melissa McCarthy a 'female hippo' in a review of her new film 'Identity Thief', has defended himself against over the controversy.Reed... taken to task on Twitter (Copyright: Rex)

The critic at the New York Observer spoke during an interview on New York radio WOR-AM, after his comments, which also included calling McCarthy 'tractor-sized', caused a backlash against him.

[Related story: Bridesmaids director defends Melissa McCarthy from critic]

Saying that McCarthy had proved herself 'completely classy' by not responding to the furore, he accused the film's studio Universal of mobilising people to criticise him in order to 'sell tickets to a bad movie', adding that it was the controversy that took it to number one in the US box office chart.

“I object to using health issues like obesity as comedy talking points. That’s what this girl does,” he said.

“I have too many friends that have died of obesity-related illnesses, heart problems and diabetes. I have helped people try to lose weight, and I don't find this to be the subject of a lot of humor.”

Stars including McCarthy's director on 'Bridesmaids' Paul Feig rallied behind her on Twitter over the remarks made by Reed.

“For his catty and school bully name-calling of the supremely talented Melissa McCarthy, I cordially invite Mr. Rex Reed to go f*** himself,” said Feig.

Reed concluded: “Don't make me a villain. She is crying all the way to the bank!”