Melissa McCarthy Explains How She Taught a Critic Who Trashed Her Looks to Not "Tear Down Women" Anymore

"I just think that we tear down women in this country for all these superficial reasons, and women are so great and strong," the Spy star says

By Zach Johnson May 20, 2015 12:15 PMTags

Melissa McCarthy believes in teachable moments.

In Entertainment Weekly's May 22, 2015 issue, the actress recalled coming face-to-face with a film critic during the 2014 Toronto Film Festival after he had recently trashed her appearance in the film Tammy. Though she was there to promote St. Vincent, McCarthy called the critic out for his sexiest commentary. The Spy star elaborated on her experience on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Wednesday.

"I met him at the Toronto Film Festival, and he actually said, 'I'm the one that wrote this.' He said, basically, I'm only a good actress when I look attractive and that my husband [Ben Falcone] shouldn't be allowed to direct me because he let me look hideous in this movie. It was a lot of things, and just kind of, 'How dare women not look beautiful, perfect and attractive in a movie?' He came up to me, and I was surprised that the talked to me, because he was there for a different movie."

"I said, 'You know, would you do that to a man? John C. Riley played a really broken down character and looked terrible.' I said, 'I put a lot of time and effort into having her completely not look like she cared about herself. That was part of how I felt she felt on the inside. Would you ever say that to a man?' And he goes, 'Well, you really looked bad.' And then I said, 'I you have children? And he said, 'I do.' And I said, 'I hope you don't have a daughter,'" the actress said.

According to McCarthy, she "didn't mean that in a mean way." In fact, the critic "was actually a really kind man and spoke about his son and daughter with a lot of love and kindness." That's when she decided to help the man who had hurt her.

"When I said, 'If she comes home and someone says you can't have a job because you're unattractive,' are you gonna say, 'That's right?'" the 44-year-old Bridesmaids star recalled telling him. "And he took that in his heart and he was like, 'No, I would never want that to happen. I would never in a million years want that to happen.' And I said, 'Just know that every time you write stuff, every young girl in this country reads that and they just get a little bit chipped away.' I just think that we tear down women in this country for all these superficial reasons, and women are so great and strong, and I think he really heard that."

"That writer was really loving," she said. "And you could tell he was a loving father."

According to McCarthy, this type of behavior is all too common. "I think it's a bad habit that we've gotten into, and it's not that people are malicious. I just think it's so easy to take a swipe and I'm like, just go the other way. Build it up. I feel like that's what you do every day with your show," she told Ellen DeGeneres. "You put a little love and kindness in the world, and it does good things when you do that."