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Reese Witherspoon blasts 'cruel' attention over Renee Zellweger's face

Reese Witherspoon is upset about the “horrible” treatment Renee Zellweger received over a recent appearance where she looked dramatically different. “It's horrible. It's cruel and rude and disrespectful, and I can go on and on and on. It bothers me immensely,” Witherspoon told “The Hollywood Reporter.” Last month, the “Bridget Jones" actress captured headlines after surprising near

Reese Witherspoon is upset about the “horrible” treatment Renee Zellweger received over a recent appearance where she looked dramatically different. 

“It's horrible. It's cruel and rude and disrespectful, and I can go on and on and on. It bothers me immensely,” Witherspoon told “The Hollywood Reporter.”

Last month, the “Bridget Jones" actress captured headlines after surprising nearly everyone with a dramatically different look while attending a Hollywood benefit. Many went as far as to say that Zellweger's face was "unrecognizable," and mass speculation ensued over the reasons behind her transformation.

Reese Witherspoon and Renee Zellweger in a 2010 photo.Today

At the time, Zellweger herself responded to the attention her new look received, telling People Magazine: "I'm glad folks think I look different! I'm living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows."

Witherspoon said the mean comments targeting Zellweger reflect how women are generally treated in society.

Zellweger, and the look that started the debateToday

"I know this is so Pollyanna of me, but why — and it's particularly women — why do they have to tear women down?" she asked. "And why do we have to tear other women down to build another woman up? It drives me crazy. Like, this one looks great without her makeup but that one doesn't look good without her makeup, and it's all just a judgment and assault.”

Witherspoon said that kind of assault happens to men, too, “I just don't think it's with the same sort of ferocity."

Witherspoon spoke during The Hollywood Reporter’s annual actress roundtable, which this year also included Amy Adams, Patricia Arquette, Laura Dern, Felicity Jones, Julianne Moore and Hilary Swank.

Follow TODAY.com writer Eun Kyung Kim on Twitter.