Melissa McCarthy on Ghostbusters Reboot Backlash, Five Years Later: 'I Just Don't Get It'

“I don't get the fight to see who can be the most negative and the most hate-filled," said Melissa McCarthy, who starred in the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot

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Five years after the Ghostbusters reboot hit theaters, star Melissa McCarthy is still unsure why the female-led film received such harsh criticism.

McCarthy, 51, who played Abby Yates in Ghostbusters, opened up about the backlash to the comedy in a new interview with Yahoo! Entertainment, defending her film against critics who slammed the movie for its all-women lead cast both before and after it premiered in 2016.

"There's no end to stories we can tell, and there's so many reboots and relaunches and different interpretations, and to say any of them are wrong, I just don't get it," McCarthy said.

She continued, "I don't get the fight to see who can be the most negative and the most hate-filled. Everybody should be able to tell the story they want to tell. If you don't want to see it, you don't have to see it."

Melissa McCarthy
Melissa McCarthy. Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

The Paul Feig-directed film was the target of some especially nasty online attacks, with cast member Leslie Jones considering deleting her Twitter in 2016 over the hate she received on the platform as some criticized her character for being stereotypical.

In an interview with Jess Cagle's SiriusXM show last May, Feig suggested " the anti-Hillary [Clinton] movement" contributed to the hate his Ghostbusters film received.

"I think some really brilliant author needs to write a book about 2016 and how intertwined we were with Hillary [Clinton] and the anti-Hillary movement," he said. "Everyone was at a boiling point. I don't know if it was having an African American president for eight years that teed them up, they were just ready to explode."

The director added, "It's crazy how people got nuts about women trying to be in power or be in positions they weren't normally in. And it was an ugly, ugly year."

Kristen Wiig, who starred in Ghostbusters alongside Kate McKinnon, Jones and McCarthy, said in a 2015 interview with The Los Angeles Times that the backlash surrounding just the announcement of the film was "surprising" to her.

"Some people said some really not nice things about the fact that there were women," she said at the time. "It didn't make me mad, it just really bummed me out. We're really honoring those movies."


McCarthy has spoken about the Ghostbusters backlash before, telling Entertainment Weekly in 2016, "I just thought, 'Really? Are we still there?,' " before adding, "It's a movie. I never gave it another thought. You just have to go, 'Well, I hope you get out a little more. The world is fun.' I really think it's the minority."

Since Ghostbusters premiered in 2016, the supernatural franchise has inspired another movie, one that completely ignores the 2016 film. Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which was first announced in 2019, is a sequel to the original franchise and does not feature any of the four leads from the 2016 movie. It's set to be released in November.

When news of the sequel first broke, Jones called the film "so insulting" on Twitter.

"Like f—k us. We dint count," she wrote. "It's like something trump would do. (Trump voice) 'Gonna redo ghostbusteeeeers, better with men, will be huge. Those women ain't ghostbusteeeeers' ugh so annoying. Such a d—k move. And I don't give f—k I'm saying something!!"

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