I thought it was fabulous that Ringer was able to turn that whole episode with Macaulay into a "win." Problems with weight have been an issue at different times in her career and, as best I remember, she had been criticized in print when she had been at a heavier weight earlier in her career and in more informal contexts: I adored her from the very beginning of her career, but I myself made a comment once on this website when I noticed she had gained weight more than I thought was ideal. I didn't make it in Macaulay's jokey fashion, but I did say something. I also have a memory of reading an early interview with her in which she discussed dealing with weight issues--years before the Times hullabaloo. So, as I see it, when at this much later and more established stage of her career, she got the criticism in the NYTimes she was taking the opportunity to address something that had been an issue at other more vulnerable times in her career.
I think with ballet and, especially women ballet dancers, people also relate the emphasis on weight to unhealthy eating and, worse, eating disorders that have at times plagued the ballet world. That's another reason why I was pretty delighted Ringer talked to the press etc.
But I wouldn't be inclined to say Macaulay's remarks "helped" Ringer anymore than I would be inclined to say that a boss that fired me had helped me to get my next job. Given a lemon she made sugarplums out of it.
In principle, I don't mind Macaulay commenting on dancer body types and even their weight when it communicates something serious about what he sees and values in the dancing. (In particular instances I might disagree of course or think his taste was too narrow ...)
I was mildly startled to read such pointed praise for Gorak's partnering in Nutcracker when it had been just as pointedly panned by viewers who post on this website and who have shown themselves admirers of Gorak's dancing. I don't think the lead critic for the NY Times cares what we write or I would almost suspect him of purposely choosing his words as a riposte...But we also all see performances very differently. (Nor would I entirely hold it against such a powerful reviewer if he occasionally decided to cut a dancer some slack--though that may be the fan in me talking.)