Will & Grace star Debra Messing has apologised for messages suggesting that Donald Trump could “become the most popular boyfriend” if he goes to prison.
The sitcom star, a long-time champion of LGBT+ equality and a vocal opponent of Trump, made the comments as state-level investigations intensify into the leader’s business practices.
In a since-deleted tweet, she wrote: “Donald Trump you are a weak, scared, stupid, inept, negligent, vindictive, narcissistic, criminal. I hope you live a long life in prison where you become the most popular boyfriend to all the inmates.”
The message inspired genuine criticism of Messing, as well as some bad-faith attacks from anti-LGBT+ Trump supporters eager to fan the flames.
Trump fanatics claim Will & Grace star Debra Messing is a ‘homophobe’
Right-wing outlet The Daily Wire, whose founder Ben Shapiro is known for his tendency to fly into a bigoted rage at everything from Harry Styles wearing a dress to lesbians existing on TV, attempted to muster some moral authority as it branded Messing’s comment “homophobic” in a headline.
The actress firmly rejected the claim as she apologised for the remark.
Messing made clear on Monday (14 December): “I’d like to say I have been an LGBTQIA ally for decades, and I was in no way referencing LGBTQI/queer love/sexuality.
“It is not my proudest moment, but 45 has victimised hundreds of millions of people; I had wished the tables turned on him. I apologise for the offensive way I did it.”
Prison sexual assault is not funny
Prison rape jokes have remained a bizarrely long-lasting comedy staple even in the wake of the #MeToo movement, popping up regularly in media.
They have been increasingly criticised, however, for trivialising sexual assault targeted at men, as well as feeding an often-ingrained homophobic depiction of predatory gay perpetrators.
Actor Terry Crews, a survivor of sexual abuse, called out the trend alongside talk show host Samantha Bee in 2018. He made clear: “Stop telling those f**king jokes! You’re a hack and everybody knows it, but here’s the good news! Lots of things are funny that aren’t rape.”
Donald Trump has previously called for Debra Messing to be “thrown off television” after she approvingly tweeting about a road sign at a black Baptist church that read: “A Black vote for Trump is a mental illness. A white vote for Trump is pure racism.”
In a Twitter tirade last year, the president of the United States vented: “Bad ‘actress’ Debra The Mess Messing is in hot water.
“She wants to create a ‘Blacklist’ of Trump supporters and is being accused of McCarthyism. [She] is also being accused of being a racist because of the terrible things she said about Blacks and mental illness.
“If Roseanne Barr said what she did, even being on a much higher rated show, she would have been thrown off television.”