Melissa McCarthy, Barbra Streisand And The Etiquette Of Asking If Someone’s On Ozempic

Have weight loss drugs changed how we talk about someone's appearance?

Melissa McCarthy

by Alice Hall |
Updated on

Conversations about weight loss are sadly nothing new for celebrities in the spotlight, but this week there's one in particular that has gripped the internet.

A recent online interaction between Barbra Streisand and Bridesmaid’s star Melissa McCarthy has got everyone talking. It all started when Melissa shared a picture of herself on Instagram with her friend Adam Shankman wearing a ruffled mint green dress and a blazer at an event in Los Angeles.

In a comment underneath the picture, Barbra wrote ‘Give him my regards did you take Ozempic?’ Ozempic is a drug primarily used to treat diabetes, but it swept Hollywood as the weight loss drug of choice in 2022 due to its appetite-suppressing effects. Since, celebrities including Sharon Osbourne, Amy Schumerand Elon Musk have admitted to using weight loss drugs.

Barbra's comment was deleted, but not before screenshots began circulating online shortly after, sparking a wider debate about weight loss under the post. One user wrote ‘Wow really! What happened to not taking about Bodies! As a mother of a daughter that’s not ok we as women need to not focus on appearance.’ Another wrote ‘I’m so totally taken aback that you could ask her that on Social Media for all to see? I love and adore you, truly, but that disappointed me.’ Others choose to see the funny side of Streisand’s mishap, with one user writing on X ‘Omg somebody please teach Barbra Streisand how to send a DM.’

In a follow up post on her Instagram story a few hours later, Barbra clarified her reasons for writing the comment. She wrote ‘OMG - I went on Instagram to see the photos we'd posted of the beautiful flowers I'd received for my birthday! Below them was a photo of my friend Melissa McCarthy who I sang with on my Encore album. She looked fantastic! I just wanted to pay her a compliment. I forgot the world is reading!’

Melissa and Barbra are well acquainted, as they previously collaborated on the song Anything You Can Do for Streisand's 2016 album Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway. Melissa has been understanding about the unfolding situation, telling paparazzi ‘I think Barbra is a treasure and I love her,’ when they asked her about the incident.

Later, she shut down the discourse around her weight by uploading a video on Instagram that begins with her reading a magazine with young Barbra on the cover. When the camera zooms out, she says ‘The takeaway. Barbra Streisand knows I exist.’ She continued ‘She reached out to me and thought I look good. I win the day," she added and then went back to reading her magazine.’ She captioned the clip: ‘@barbrastreisand fan club members only!!!’

Melissa's response to the saga led fans to praise her in the comments. One user called her ‘the classiest woman’ in the business while another said ‘Hahahah the real ones knew u didn’t mind it because you’re friends!!!! WE LOVE U QUEEN.’

While it seems no bad intentions were intended by Barbra's comment, it has led to disheartening online speculation around Melissa's weight. Right now, 'Melissa McCarthy weight loss' is a breakout search term on Google, and search for 'ozempic weight loss' is up by 200% under her name - despite Melissa never having given any indication of using the drug.

She has been open about struggling with her weight in the past. She previously told The Guardian 'I’ve been every size in the world, from a six to a 22', and has also spoken about attempting a all-liquid diet supervised by a doctor after she secured a role in Gilmore Girls, which led to her losing 70 pounds in just four months. She told people ‘I’d never do that again. I felt starved and crazy half the time.’

All this rears the age-old debate about the ethics of commenting on someone’s weight - particularly in the age of weight-loss drugs. Ozempic is controversial, but the bottom line is that someone's weight loss should never be speculated on, no matter how it's achieved. In fact, no one should feel the need to comment on someone else's body at all.

This is best summed up by Oprah Winfrey, who openly admitted to using weight loss drugs after decades of being shamed for her body. 'I come to this conversation with the hope that we can start releasing the stigma and the shame and the judgement – to stop shaming other people for being overweight or how they choose to lose or not lose weight – and more importantly to stop shaming ourselves,' she said earlier this year.

Women's bodies have been publicly dissected for decades, with those in the spotlight facing particular scrutiny. But all this gossip only furthers the narrative that a woman is newsworthy because of how much weight she's lost. So while discourse around Melissa's weight trends on Google, let's choose to celebrate Melissa for the amazing, talented woman she is.

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