Did The New Yorker Just Call Ben Affleck Fat?

800-word analysis of Affleck shirtless on the beach draws social media backlash

The New Yorker is under fire for a story discussing the current physique of actor Ben Affleck.

Following an internet frenzy over Affleck’s universally ridiculed back tattoo, the New Yorker ran a piece on Friday titled “The Great Sadness of Ben Affleck,” which discusses the movie star’s “gut pooching outward” in paparazzi photos taken on the set of his new film “Triple Frontier.”

Comparing his body to that of animated donut fan Homer Simpson, the piece is a meditation on the unflattering photo and zeroes in on its many minute details.

“A blue-gray towel is wrapped protectively around his midsection–recalling a shy teen at the local pool. Staring at the water before him, his gaze obscure and empty, Affleck is a defeated Roman senator,” wrote the New Yorker’s Naomi Fry.

The story also recalls the golden days of Affleck, iterations of him including fresh-faced Oscar winner and his “faux Latin lover” slickness when engaged to Jennifer Lopez 16 years ago. The post has been dragged as body-shaming, cruel and mocking of a person who openly struggles with addiction. Even worse, insipid and beneath the publication’s standards.

“It is the most mean-spirited article I’ve read in a long time. He has struggled with alcohol addiction which you managed to leave out. So low-level, I will not be subscribing to the New Yorker – ever,” wrote one Twitter user.

“[This] seemed to have no other point than to body-shame a person who feels depressed. A low moment for anything resembling journalism,” wrote another.

At least one person appreciated the analysis, calling the story a”beautiful, poignant piece. Thank you. This photograph is quite amazing. Feet grounded. Cleansing. Head aswirl.”

Representatives for Affleck had no comment on the matter.

In the magazine’s defense, the story appeared in a dedicated subcategory of the website called “Annals of Appearances,” which aspires to make hay out of the superficial. It has some interesting takes, like the cultural significance of Britney Spears finally landing a major fashion campaign or what former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks was telegraphing with her smiley eyes.

Read the more reactions to Affleck and his “great sadness”: