TV host Piers Morgan slams Jennifer Aniston on media sexism comments as support for her grows

Actress Jennifer Aniston at the 21st Annual Critics' Choice Awards in Santa Monica on Jan 17.
Actress Jennifer Aniston at the 21st Annual Critics' Choice Awards in Santa Monica on Jan 17. PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS/AFP) - Hollywood celebrities are lining up behind actress Jennifer Aniston after she penned a blog criticising the media for the way it scrutinises female stars.

Melissa McCarthy, Jason Bateman and Olivia Wilde were among the A-Listers who showed their support.

"Everybody needs to stop tearing down women," McCarthy, 45, said on Entertainment Tonight, after declaring she was "one hundred thousand billion per cent" behind Aniston.

Former Friends star Aniston, 47, published the blog, For The Record, on the Huffington Post on Tuesday (July 12), writing that she was sick of being harassed by photographers and tabloid reporters.

"For the record, I am not pregnant," she wrote. "What I am is fed up. I'm fed up with the sport-like scrutiny and body shaming that occurs daily under the guise of 'journalism', the 'First Amendment' and 'celebrity news'.

"The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing," she also wrote, saying that "we define a woman's value based on her marital and maternal status".

Her husband, actor Justin Theroux, 44, took to photo-sharing platform Instagram to show his support for his wife, posting a black-and-white image of her at a bowling alley with the hashtag #wcw for "Woman Crush Wednesday". He linked to her letter and wrote: "Here's just one reason why."

Aniston, who People magazine named as the most beautiful woman of 2016 in April, said she wrote the blog because she "wanted to participate in a larger conversation" even though she does not use social media.

The blog post was "liked" on Facebook more than 27,000 times by Wednesday afternoon.

"The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty," Aniston wrote.

She was also backed by actresses Anna Paquin, Margaret Cho and Nikki Reed, who described the blog post as "beautiful, eloquent, and a true dose of kickass".

But British TV presenter and journalist Piers Morgan, who is editor-at-large of the United States edition of Britain's Daily Mail newspaper, published a counter-essay entitled: "My dear Jennifer, if you're so fed up with having your body judged, stop trying to make it look so Photoshop-perfect on magazine covers.

"There's another reason why the media objectify and scrutinise famous women, and why little girls get confused about beauty and body image," he wrote.

"It's this: Female stars like Jennifer Aniston deliberately perpetuate the myth of 'perfection' by posing for endless magazine covers which have been airbrushed so much that in some cases the celebrity is virtually unrecognisable."