The cast of Will & Grace made the rounds on the Today show on Monday, but it was their segment with the show’s newest host, Megyn Kelly, that sparked controversy.
During her hour, Kelly welcomed Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Meghan Mullally and Sean Hayes and talked about the show’s imminent return. She also welcomed lawyer—and W&G superfan—Russell Turner to the stage to receive free tickets to an upcoming taping.
At one point Kelly asked Turner, “Is it true that you became a lawyer—and you became gay—because of Will?”
The clunky “joke” went mostly unnoticed, but as she signed off, Kelly japed, “I don’t know about the lawyer thing, but I think the Will & Grace thing and the gay thing is gonna work out great.”
Even Messing joined the chorus: In an Instagram posted Tuesday, the actress and LGBT ally wrote she didn’t know she’d be on Kelly’s segment. “Honestly I didn’t know it was MK until that morning. The itinerary just said Today show appearance.”
Messing added that she regretted doing the interview and was “dismayed” by Kelly’s remarks.
It’s not surprising, given their differing perspectives: while Kelly has claimed she’s putting politics aside on Today, she spent years enabling a network trafficking in the worst worst homophobic stereotypes out there. (Lets’ not forget Kelly is the commentator who once insisted Santa Claus couldn’t be black.)
Messing’s statement about Kelly was later deleted, but other commenters referenced it.
“Thank you @therealdebramessing for sharing your honest experience with us,” wrote beachyxxwitch. “I hope this page can be a place where debra can share her reactions and experiences to us without judgement.”