Debra Messing wasted no time taking a swipe at E! for allegedly not paying its female hosts as much as its male hosts during a live interview with the network from the red carpet for the 2018 Golden Globes.
The “Will & Grace” star was donning a black sequin gown and was asked by E!’s Giuliana Rancic why she chose the somber color.
Messing used the opportunity to slam the NBC-owned entertainment network for allegedly paying their female anchors less than their male counterparts during the live interview.
“I am wearing black to thank and honor all of the brave whistleblowers who came forward to share their stories of harassment and assault and discrimination,” Messing explained.
“I was so shocked to hear that E! doesn’t believe in paying their female co-hosts the same as their male co-hosts,” she told Rancic adding that she misses former E! host Catt Sadler who quit the network in late December over a pay disparity.
“So we stand with [Sadler] and that’s something that can change tomorrow. We want people to start having this conversation that women are just as valuable as men,” Messing explained.
Rancic did her best to recover from the awkward interaction.
“That’s really what this movement is all about,” Rancic told Messing without directly answering the actress’ comment about Sadler.
“I was so shocked to hear that E! doesn’t believe in paying their female co-hosts the same as their male co-hosts.”
Turning the Globes dark on the fashion front was a call for massive reform following the downfall of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and numerous others in Hollywood, media, fashion, tech, publishing and other industries. The Time’s Up initiative, backed by more than 300 women in Hollywood, doled out pins intended for those who might already have locked in more colorful looks.
E! News, an affiliate of NBC, has seen a lot of change in the past few months. Back in October, the show’s correspondent Ken Baker was fired after allegations of sexual harassment. Former network interns spoke out against Baker and claimed that the correspondent did things such as propositioning sex and sending crude text messages. He was also accused of forcibly kissing one intern.
The Baker scandal came on the heels of NBC news analyst Mark Halperin being accused of harassing women in the workplace, and a month before the network’s “Today” show host Matt Lauer was fired from his 20-year post for alleged sexual misconduct. Since Lauer’s firing, several women have come forward to reveal their stories about the news anchor.
Controversy has also beset the network’s cable news operation. MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews reportedly made inappropriate jokes and comments about a woman in front of others in 1999 while at CNBC, resulting in a $40,000 payout, according to the Daily Caller.
NBC News chairman Andy Lack and his embattled deputy, Noah Oppenheim, are scrambling to put new sexual harassment policies in place at NBC News, even as they resist bringing in an outside investigator to look into who knew what about Lauer’s behavior and who may have been covering up for him or enabling him.
Instead, Lack has told employees that the investigation would be handled in-house by NBC lawyers and human resources executives.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.