Debra Messing: Why I Couldn’t Recognize I Was Being Harassed Early in My Career

Debra Messing
Debra Messing attends the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Steve Granitz/

Debra Messing does not shy away when it comes to voicing her opinion on social media. Us Weekly spoke exclusively with the Cool Sculpting spokesperson on Tuesday, October 24, where the Will & Grace star opened up about why she considers Twitter a “privilege” and how she navigated Hollywood during the early stages of her career.

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“I have strong opinions about the world that I would like to live and work in. There is a lot of change that has still yet to be accomplished that needs to happen, so I feel grateful that I can express myself and enter into a dialogue with people who think differently than me,” the 49-year-old told Us. “To be able to connect with people who you do not know in massive numbers … it’s just a ton of women all coming out and saying, ‘I stand with you. I believe you,’ with all the sexual assault and harassment news.”

Debra Messing CoolSculpting
Debra Messing, global brand ambassador for CoolSculpting by Allergan, poses for a photo at Break The Ice panel discussion at NYCÕs Minus5 ice bar on October 24, 2017 in New York City. Cindy Ord/Getty Images for CoolSculpting

Messing’s remarks come amid sexual harassment and assault allegations made against Harvey Weinstein by several actresses, including Angelina Jolie, Rose McGowan and Gwyneth Paltrow. In a previous statement to Us Weekly, a spokesperson for the former executive denies “any allegations of non-consensual sex.”

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The actress — whose career has spanned more than two decades — revealed that in the early years she was “inexperienced and naïve.” She explained: “I couldn’t even at the time recognize that I was being harassed, or that I was being belittled.” Adding, “Now, as a woman, I can look back and say, ‘Oh yes, that was inappropriate. That was disrespectful.’” 

The mother of one also noted: “l didn’t have anyone in the business who was older than me that could guide me and teach me. That’s why I think Twitter and social media and being able to share experiences to say what is reasonable and what is respectful behavior, that it’s all very clear.”

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