The Mirror

Reporters React Badly to ‘Ugly Person’ Adoption Service

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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Beauty magazines have been favoring pretty people for as long as anyone can remember. Now that a website is offering to mentor ugly folk on improving their appearance, some journalists are outraged.

“This is getting ridiculous,” wrote Darren Shuster of Pop Culture Public Relations who is handling the account for, a dating site just for attractive people. “Why is it okay for Allure, Cosmo and others to pump out makeover stories 365 days a year but can’t launch a mentorship program? This morning, a New York Times writer called the initiative ‘repulsive’ …and has been writing about models and other beautiful people any chance he can get. Anyway, here’s the formal release that’s been getting Mainstream Media pissed off for no real reason.”

By “mainstream media” Shuster means the NYT, WSJ’s San Francisco bureau, the LAT and CBS.

Specifically, he means NYT‘s Jacob Berstein, who replied to the beautiful people pitch with a one-word response: “Repulsed,” he replied in an email exchange obtained by The Mirror.

Shuster wondered, “They are just in shock over the whole concept of a beautiful people dating site or is it that they are unwilling to help others?”

The site offers members of the media, a profession that apart from TV can get a little rough around the edges looks wise, a chance to improve their looks. “Members of the Press are welcome to receive a free session with a mentor,” says a release. is pitching this as a “charitable initiative” and calls it “adopt an ugly person.” As deals go, it’s not half bad. The site plans to approach 7.5 million rejects who tried to sign up for the dating service but because of their looks were denied access. Once placed with a “mentor,” they will get advice on looks, style and will receive relationship and dating therapy.

Each “ugly” person will be placed with a mentor best suited to his or her needs: This could mean anyone from a doctor, model or stylist to a relationship therapist or hypnotist.

CBS News assignment editor and writer Diana Quinn was as incensed as the NYT reporter. “This is a joke right?” she replied to Shuster. Shuster later shot back, “Not sure what’s so crazy, really. What do 99% of people look for when trolling Internet dating sites? Good looking profile pics, right? Peers vote you in or out, and the playing field is level. With that said, I doubt I would be accepted into the dating site?”

Quinn returned fire. “Well, yes, actually, that’s how it works in the real world. But why not call it a No Fatties Allowed dating website. There’d be some backlash there. Or No Fat Chicks website, that’s even better!”

She did say she’d pass it along to the “CBS This Morning” folks.

Perhaps the whole idea is crazy. But Greg Hodge, managing director of sees it as a positive contribution to online dating and a chance to say no to a lonely night of eating ice cream.

“We all know the classic teenage movie scenes where the ugly duckling removes her glasses and transforms into the beautiful woman with the help of her friends,” he said. “It’s a positive thing for the online dating community. …“It’s politically correct these days to say: ‘Just love yourself the way you are.’ But, that’s easier said than done when you’re home alone on a Saturday night eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.”