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":
You did. 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.
— Hanne (@Hannerask) March 27, 2018
A piece which seemed to have no other point than to body-shame a person who feels depressed. A low moment for anything resembling journalism.
— Christian Moerk (@christian_moerk) March 26, 2018
Shameful. It’s awful that the New Yorker would publish this. If poking fun at a celebrity’s sadness or perceived depression is the best you can do I’d suggest counseling. Aspire to do something better.
— Brrrrrrrrrian ❄️ (@supe78) March 25, 2018
“Sadness?” Really? Ben Affleck is a Multi-Oscar winning millionaire, father and philanthropist.
You’re the New Yorker... do better.
— Jeff Sullivan (@TheJeffSullivan) March 27, 2018
This is like the fifth time you've posted this disgusting, body shaming, cruel hack job of an article. The New Yorker lost a subscriber today. When did TNY become worse than tabloids?
— Christopher Terrell (@Lefty__Knox) March 27, 2018
What's wrong with you NYer? 3rd day I've had to see you milking this photo of Affleck with some lame facade on sadness - it's shallow, pointless and mean spirited.
— Paul Welch (@japanracingblog) March 27, 2018
I don’t care for Ben Affleck, but there was still no need for this article
— Camille Battle (@BatGal87) March 26, 2018
Beautiful, poignant piece. Thank you.
I just watched "Live by Night" for the first time and felt a profound sadness afterwards; melancholy beyond the role. Similarly: "Hollywoodland".
This photograph is quite amazing.
Feet grounded. Cleansing. Head aswirl. #essencecaptured
— liddlegirllost (@liddlegirllost1) March 26, 2018
This is a really mean spirited article. Poking fun of someone who is clearly depressed and dealing with substance abuse for your own personal gain is pathetic. Can't believe the @NewYorker published this garbage.. "Never look down on someone unless you are helping them up"
— DEAN COLLINS (@deanrcollins) March 27, 2018