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Renee Zellweger Denies Plastic Surgery Rumors: ‘Just One More Story In the Massive Smut Pile’

”Ubiquitous online and news source repetition of humiliating tabloid stories, mean-spirited judgments and false information is not harmless,“ actress writes in the Huffington Post

Renee Zellweger responded to the recent uproar over her appearance and called out media outlets for reporting on it in an op-ed in the Huffington Post on Friday.

In the op-ed, she targets tabloid media for speculating about plastic surgery and publishing “humiliating” stories about actresses’ physical appearance. In 2014, Zellweger found herself under intense scrutiny after tabloids suggested she had plastic surgery resulting in her drastically different appearance.

At the time, Zellweger wrote, she didn’t feel the need to respond: “It didn’t matter,” she wrote. “Just one more story in the massive smut pile generated every day by the tabloid press and fueled by exploitative headlines and folks who practice cowardly cruelty from their anonymous internet pulpits.”

The actress found herself in the headlines again when Variety’s Chief Film Critic Owen Gleiberman published a column with the headline “Renee Zellweger: If She No Longer Looks Like Herself, Has She Become a Different Actress?” in response to the new trailer for “Bridget Jones’s Baby.”

“I am not writing today because I have been publicly bullied or because the value of my work has been questioned by a critic whose ideal physical representation of a fictional character originated 16 years ago, over which he feels ownership, I no longer meet,” she wrote, explaining that she was driven to pen the op-ed when more reputable news outlets began to pick up the story.

“It became the catalyst for my inclusion in subsequent legitimate news stories about self-acceptance and women succumbing to social pressure to look and age a certain way,” she wrote. “In my opinion, that tabloid speculations become the subject of mainstream news reporting does matter.

She called the message this sends to younger generations “problematic,” and suggested tabloid fodder was replacing real, more important news coverage: “Ubiquitous online and news source repetition of humiliating tabloid stories, mean-spirited judgments and false information is not harmless.”

“Maybe we could talk more about our many true societal challenges and how we can do better,” she suggested.

Read her full essay at the Huffington Post.