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Watch: Debra Messing calls out E!’s gender pay gap in an interview with E!

Last month, E! was accused of paying women less than men. Debra Messing started the Golden Globes off with a bang by calling them out.

Debra Messing and Giuliana Rancic at the 2018 Golden Globes.
Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.

While walking the 2018 Golden Globes red carpet, which promises to be filled with acknowledgments of the systemic misogyny of Hollywood that range from cringingly awkward to deeply powerful, Debra Messing started things off with a bang.

In an interview with E!’s Giuliana Rancic, Messing took the opportunity to speak out against E!’s recently revealed history of gender discrimination.

“I was so shocked to hear that E! doesn’t believe in paying their female co-hosts the same as their male co-hosts,” Messing told Rancic, adding, “I miss Catt Sadler … and we stand with her.”

Sadler, the longtime co-host of E! News, left the network in December, citing the massive pay gap between her salary and that of her male co-hosts.

“It really has been a dream job. Literally a dream job,” Sadler told People magazine at the time. “It’s like a family here and it’s been beautiful for the majority of my run. I pinch myself every day the job that I get to do. I have so much fun. It has almost been surreal.”

But Sadler left her dream job behind, she said, after she was “informed and made aware that my male equivalent at the network who I started with the same year and have come up with doing essentially similar jobs, if not the same job, wasn’t just making a little bit more than me but was making double my salary and has been for several years.”

Sadler said that when she attempted to renegotiate her salary to match that of her male co-star, E! refused to meet her number. (In a statement to People, E! said, “E! compensates employees fairly and appropriately based on their roles, regardless of gender. We appreciate Catt Sadler’s many contributions at E! News and wish her all the best following her decision to leave the network.”)

Messing’s interview is a reminder that E! won’t be able to hide from its history of gender pay discrimination — even when it’s supposed to be doing the interviewing.

Update: Later in the evening, Eva Longoria added to the call-outs in her own interview with E!, saying, “We support gender equity and equal pay, and we hope that E! follows that lead with Catt as well. We stand with you, Catt.”

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