Debra Messing Says She Regrets Doing Megyn Kelly Interview After Gay “Joke”

On "Today," Kelly asked a "Will & Grace" superfan if the show made him gay.

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.

NBC

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?”

Today/NBC Universal

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.”

While the lines were probably crafted by producers, numerous outlets dinged Kelly for being tone-deaf.

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.

Debra Messing/Instagram

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.”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery