Why Susan Sarandon got into it on Twitter with Debra Messing

Susan Sarandon photographed in the L.A. Times photo studio at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 15, 2015.

Susan Sarandon photographed in the L.A. Times photo studio at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 15, 2015.

(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Susan Sarandon has always marched to the beat of her own drum. She openly smokes weed. Last year, at almost 70 years old, she attended Burning Man -- a psychedelic gathering in the Nevada desert filled with art, sex and drugs. And she has never been shy about sharing her political views, recently spending a majority of her time stumping for Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Even so, the 69-year-old made headlines last month when she got into a heated political feud with fellow actress Debra Messing on Twitter. OK, so first, a primer: On March 28, Sarandon went on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes” to talk about her support for Sanders. Hayes asked if she would vote for Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton should Sanders lose the nomination, and she replied she was going to “see what happens.” Hayes expressed surprise, but Sarandon just replied with a shrug: “Some people feel Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately.”

Even though she never actually said she’d vote for Trump over Clinton, that was the story that emerged from the interview. It was a sentiment that made many people on Twitter extremely mad, including Clinton supporter Messing, who tweeted this:


What followed was a passionate back-and-forth between Sarandon and Messing that went on for days. Messing even got another actress, Kathy Najimy, in on the action:

So why did Sarandon engage Messing on Twitter?

“At first, I engaged with her because I felt like if I said ‘I didn’t say that, just read it,’ it would have stopped,” Sarandon told The Times in Las Vegas this week, where she was in town to accept CinemaCon’s Icon Award. “I don’t want to guess why she kept at it and brought other people into it. If somebody ultimately doesn’t get it, there’s no point in continuing to talk to them. At a certain point, I stopped, because that was clear.”

Sarandon said she has never met Messing in person, and that the two have not communicated outside of Twitter since their recent spat. She said she blames the whole thing on the outlets that picked up her MSNBC remarks and put “misleading headlines” on them.

“Some people [on Twitter] said, ‘She didn’t say that. Is that libel? Can she sue?’” Sarandon continued. “But if people want to get themselves all twisted up and they get out on a limb, there’s nothing you can do.”

As for Messing?

“I answered her on Twitter, and I felt that that was enough,” Sarandon said. “When it started evolving into a life of its own, there was no point.”

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