Susan Sarandon & Debra Messing's Ugly Twitter Feud

by Karen Yuan

At this rate, the theater that is this election season will run out of popcorn, thanks to the ongoing Twitter war between Debra Messing and Susan Sarandon. The social media spat exploded over Sarandon's controversial comments on MSNBC Monday night when she told Chris Hayes she may consider Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the event that Bernie Sanders loses the Democratic nomination. Messing, who's #WithHer, accused Sarandon of not disavowing Trump as a candidate, an accusation that Sarandon immediately fought against. While the public feud, which started on Wednesday, began as a civilized argument over politics, it has only gotten more and more brutal as they've begun straight-up insulting each other. Even by the low standards set by this current presidential election, things have turned ugly.

And as a result, these award-winning actresses are actually hurting the candidates they defend: By attacking each other, they're only using politics to fuel a personal, petty feud — and you might as well leave that to the presidential candidates arguing about the size of their penises.

The fight began to heat up when Messing tweeted after Sarandon's MSNBC appearance, "Susan Sarandon muses tht Trump prezcy wud b better 4 the country thn Hillary.Wonder if she'd say that if she were poor,gay,Muslim or immgrnt." Yup, read that twice and maybe out loud to actually understand what the former Will & Grace star is trying to convey in her tweet:

While Sarandon didn't state outright during the MSNBC interview that she would support Trump over Clinton, she did voice concerns over Clinton. The Oscar-winning actress said Trump, on the other hand, would bring about a much-needed "revolution." Presumably referencing that point, Messing tweeted, "What kind of revolution?! A WALL?!"

Sarandon rose to arms and replied that for first-time voters, the candidate pool was a "dilemma."

Messing then fired back, calling Sarandon out for not being a first-time voter and misusing her influence to boost Trump.

So far so civil (enough), right? Messing and Sarandon both brought up valid points about the candidates. But Messing was out for blood. Although she's now deleted it, Messing initially retweeted a fan's message that read, "@DebraMessing = national treasure. @SusanSarandon = national embarrassment." Hell hath no fury like a scorned Sarandon, who shot back, ".@DebraMessing now RT-ing personal attacks. Cool." Messing began naming allies, such as tweeting selfies with Kathy Najimy and Sally Field. (Please, don't drag Sally Field into this.)

As if watching a hyped-up boxing match between two heavyweights, spectators are rallying around their preferred champion. It's Team Messing versus Team Sarandon, and no longer Team Sanders versus Team Clinton which in and of itself is not the most high-minded democratic mindset, but I'll take it at this rate.

There's a very delicate balance when you mix celebrities with politics, especially during an election season, before the Hollywood fame starts doing way more harm than good. Some celebs actually appear to be successful, articulate surrogates who can speak relatively competently and keep the focus on the candidates and issues rather than themselves. In this election, I'd say Sarah Silverman's stumping for Sanders is an example of that. Back in 2008, Oprah Winfrey's endorsement of Barack Obama was actually so significant it was nicknamed "the Oprah effect." Economists at the University of Maryland, College Park concluded that Winfrey's endorsement of Obama netted him over 1 million votes in the Democratic primary season. A CBS poll found that a third of Americans claimed most people they know would lean towards Obama after Winfrey's endorsement.

Obviously, Messing and Sarandon's influences are not nearly as steroidal as Winfrey's, but neither Messing or Sarandon help their chosen candidates while taking the low-blows worthy of supermarket tabloids. So, Debra Messing and Susan Sarandon, I have a simple solution: Before you do harm to your candidates, take it to your DMs.