The 2018 Golden Globes—the first awards show of the season and the first in the post–Harvey Weinstein landscape—have been generating important conversations and calling attention to hot-button topics for weeks. From stars dressing in all black to show solidarity for harassment victims to actresses bringing social justice advocates as their dates to the birth of the Time's Up movement, the Globes’ red carpet and stage has people’s attention for so much more than just fashion and awards this year. And viewers did not have to wait long to see these statements and movements come under the spotlight tonight: As soon as she hit the red carpet, Debra Messing called attention to E!’s gender wage gap issue, which gained publicity after the exit of on-air host Catt Sadler.
When asked by E! correspondent Giuliana Rancic why she had chosen to wear black tonight, Debra wasted no time in making a statement. “I am wearing black to thank and honor all of the brave whistle-blowers who came forward and shared their stories of harassment and assault and discrimination,” Messing began. ”I am wearing black to stand in solidarity with my sisters all over the globe. And I’m here to celebrate the roll out of this incredible initiative, Time's Up. Time is up. We want diversity. We want intersectional gender parity. We want equal pay. And I was so shocked to hear that E! doesn’t believe in paying their female cohosts the same as their male cohosts. I miss Catt Sadler. And so we stand with her.”
Messing was referring to Catt’s public exit from E! back in December, after discovering that her male cohost Jason Kennedy was earning double her salary. “That was really hard to swallow,” Sadler said at the time. “And when you learn something like that, it makes you feel very small and underappreciated and undervalued.”
While Rancic did not directly address Debra’s comment about E! or Sadler (simply responding that the Globes have become an “amazing platform”), Twitter took the opportunity to applaud Messing’s speech and stance. “Shout out to Debra Messing for telling Guiliana that the network she works for is sexist and enables the pay gap,” one user wrote. “Debra Messing just said on E! that she was sad to hear that E! doesn’t pay their female cohosts the same as their male cohosts. I f--king love this guns blazing awards show, let’s do this every time,” another added.