Update (October 22, 2013): Melissa McCarthy verified Elle's claim in talking to E! Online at the magazine's Women in Hollywood gala in Los Angeles last night, October 21.
"What I found so bizarre is I picked the coat," she recalled. "I had a great black dress on but I thought, it comes out in November. I was so sick of summer. I live in Southern California. I was like, 'Give me a big coat to wear. Give the girl some cashmere! … They were like, 'The dress is really great,' but I was like, 'Yeah, but look at this.'"
Now she (awesomely) feels entitled to the fashion piece: "I was just shocked I didn't steal it. Now I think I really should have the coat. I'm petitioning for that coat. Give me that coat. I earned it, damn it!"
Original story (October 17, 2013):
The Heat is on Elle nowadays for the polarizing image of actress Melissa McCarthy that appears on the fashion magazine's November 2013 cover, as part of its "Women in Hollywood Issue."
Granted, the comedy MVP looks fierce in the photo, with a gray-green wool Marina Rinaldi coat and her hair tousled mile-high.
But that wool coat, fashionable though it may be, is also very roomy — and E! Online reports that critics accuse the magazine of trying to hide Melissa's physique, especially since two of the actresses on November's alternate covers, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley, both wear form-fitting outfits.
But Elle isn't going down without a fight.
"On all of our shoots, our stylists work with the stars to choose pieces they feel good in, and this is no different," a spokesperson for the magazine wrote in a statement. "Melissa loved this look and is gorgeous on our cover. We are thrilled to honor her as one of our Women in Hollywood this year."
Well, we have to hand it to the mag: That's a pretty airtight argument. But it also leaves room for more speculation. For example, what if Melissa had chosen a more revealing outfit? Would Elle have been as accommodating?
Do you think Elle is just serving up some spin control? Or do you think they're above reproach here? Let us know below!