Debra Messing, Eva Longoria and others use Golden Globes red carpet to address pay inequality

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Red carpets are known for glitz, glam and buzzy conversations about who's wearing what. But Sunday night's Golden Globes spotlighted a more powerful theme, and one that goes well beyond Hollywood.

Many celebrities wore all black to the event, standing in solidarity with the #MeToo and Time's Up movements and looking to draw attention to sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace.

In an interview with E! News, actress Debra Messing used her red carpet moment to not only discuss why she wore black, but to also challenge the network's own track record in delivering workplace equality.

"We want diversity, we want intersectional gender parity, and we want equal pay," Messing told E! News host Giuliana Rancic. "I was so shocked to hear E! doesn't believe in paying their female co-hosts the same as their male co-hosts. I miss Catt Sadler. We stand with her."

In an interview with Ryan Seacrest, Eva Longoria and Reese Witherspoon also showed support for Sadler, who left the network in December after learning she was paid less than her male co-host.

Actress Eva Longoria
Cindy Ord | Getty Images
Actress Eva Longoria

"We're also here for Time's Up, we support gender equality and equal pay and we hope that E! follows that lead and we stand with Catt," said Longoria. Witherspoon echoed her sentiments.

People reports that Sadler, who had been with the network for almost 12 years, was in negotiations to extend her contract when she discovered that her male co-host, Jason Kennedy, had been making double her salary.

"That was really hard to swallow, but you know information is supposed to be power and when my team began negotiations knowing what we knew, that was the barometer in which I expected to be paid, based on the law and based on what I know to be fair," she said.

Despite further negotiations, Sadler says the network wouldn't even come close to paying her what they paid Kennedy and as a result she decided to leave.

"It's almost insulting because you know you work really hard," said Sadler. "I'm a single mom of two kids. I've given my all to this network. I've sacrificed time away from my family and I have dedicated my entire career to this network. And when you learn something like that, it makes you feel very small and underappreciated and undervalued."

An E! spokesperson denied claims that Kennedy was paid more in a statement to People and said, "E! compensates employees fairly and appropriately based on their roles, regardless of gender."

According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, women are still paid 20 percent less than their male counterparts for equal work. Research shows that women won't reach pay equality until 2059. For Hispanic women, equality won't be reached until 2233, and for black women 2124.

"This is about every women in every industry globally," said Messing.

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