Staffers at People are “appalled” over the magazine’s new Rebel Wilson issue, claiming that their new boss blew off concerns that the cover story is “fat-shaming” and spreads “misinformation” about weight and fertility, The Post has learned.
In the issue that hit newsstands Friday, a svelte Wilson was quoted as saying that in 2019 when she was 39, she had an appointment with a fertility doctor, who told her she’d have more success freezing her eggs if she lost weight.
“He looked me up and down and said, ‘You’d do much better if you were healthier,’” the actress told People, noting that she already felt healthy and that the “rude” remarks finally sank in after the initial shock.
“He was right. I was carrying around a lot of excess weight. It’s almost like I didn’t think of my own needs. I thought of a future child’s needs that really inspired me to get healthier,” the “How to Be Single” actress said.
Staffers accused new editor Liz Vaccariello of taking a fluffy approach to weight loss and fertility without providing insight from medical experts or any scientific information with the interview. They that warned being overweight was being conflated with infertility, and said the magazine glossed over explaining Wilson’s diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age.
“Several people expressed discomfort with various angles of the Rebel story in multiple meetings,” a source close to the situation told The Post. “It was like Liz just didn’t want to hear it or didn’t care. It isn’t that there’s no validity to the idea that weight can impact fertility. But the way we presented it is not right.”
A rep for People said: “These claims are complete fabrications. This did not happen.”
The story got paired with a video set to sad music featuring “before and after” photos of Wilson, now 80 pounds lighter, as well as a glossy cover shoot. The breezy approach was “never” done by previous entertainment-savvy editors like Dan Wakeford and his predecessor Jess Cagle, the source said.
“Basically we’ve just put it out there that a man declared Rebel too fat to have babies and she decided he was right. Full stop,” the source said. “Then we showed a bunch of her fat pictures in the cover story like some sort of tragic ‘before’ scenario. It’s fat-shaming and misinformation and completely unbalanced with any sort of expert medical discussion.”
Vaccariello has been under the microscope since she took over as editor in chief in February, after Barry Diller’s IAC bought the People parent Meredith. Staffers recently told The Post that the editor lacks entertainment contacts, even though she held top jobs at Real Simple, Parents, Reader’s Digest and Every Day with Rachael Ray.
As previously reported by The Post, higher-ups in IAC’s digital media division DotDash Meredith, which owns People, InStyle, Entertainment Weekly and other brands, are taking a scalpel to the business.
After closing a slew of print publicationsThe Post reported, execs are looking for ways to trim the fat, which may include reducing the frequency of the 48-year-old weekly celebrity magazine.