(CBS) We don't know how many obese people regularly read Marie Claire author Maura Kelly, but they seem to be paying attention now.
On Tuesday, Kelly opined on whether it was unseemly to show morbidly obese characters making out on television.
"I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other," she wrote. "Because I'd be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room -- just like I'd find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair."
Kelly says she wrote the piece at the urging of her editor. Specifically, they were talking about the show "Mike & Molly," a CBS sitcom featuring two people that meet at Overeaters Anonymous.
At the end of her story, Kelly asked, "What do you guys think? Fat people making out on TV - are you cool with it? Do you think I'm being an insensitive jerk?"
Thousands wrote back. Few were kind.
"I am greatly saddened by this article and by the profound prejudice and ignorance behind it. I have been over weight all my life, and as a child, I was merciless teased for it," wrote one reader. "Yes, you are indeed an insensitive jerk, as well as a bully, and a promoter of hatred towards plus-size people," wrote another.
Kelly quickly apologized.
"I would really like to apologize for the insensitive things I've said in this post," she wrote. "Believe it or not, I never wanted anyone to feel bullied or ashamed after reading this, and I sorely regret that it upset people so much. A lot of what I said was unnecessary. It wasn't productive, either."
Some readers accepted the apology on face value. Others weren't so forgiving.
"No wonder you lash out at 'fatties' - you must feel terrible about being so homely. All that ugliness inside you apparently had to come out in your appearance too," wrote a poster. One poster put it more succinctly: "Die in a fire."
But putting the rage aside, does Kelly have a point about health and obesity?
"No one who is as fat as Mike and Molly can be healthy," she wrote. "And obesity is costing our country far more in terms of all the related health problems we are paying for, by way of our insurance, than any other health problem, even cancer."
There's a lot of truth to that. But will readers pay heed? Fat chance.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Was Kelly's apology enough? Was she telling the hard truth about health and obesity?