In the Midst of Sandy Turmoil, NBC Star Debra Messing Dresses as Marie Antoinette

Here’s a story you won’t see from Brian Williams on NBC News. Andrea Peyser of The New York Post slammed actress Debra Messing, a star of NBC’s Broadway-musical drama “Smash,” for appearing at a fussy Halloween event in a Marie Antoinette costume – as they were still making rescues from Superstorm Sandy.

Peyser unloaded: “Celebrity twit Debra Messing and various heartless other stars proved beyond doubt that some fabulous New Yorkers don’t have hearts beating in their cold, dead chests.”

Messing, 44, of TV’s “Smash’’ and “Will and Grace’’ fame, proved on Halloween night that if you have enough money and face recognition, humility and breeding are useless distractions.

The same night, bodies were being pulled from the murky waters around New York City. Folks mourned family and friends killed by falling trees.

And Wednesday, a night of sadness and rebuilding, is when Messing chose to don the costume of Marie Antoinette, whose utterance “let them eat cake” when there was no bread reputedly sparked the French Revolution. She attended an event so hideous, it should have been banned and the revelers buggy-whipped.

It was Bette Midler’s 2012 New York Restoration Project Hulaween Benefit Gala — dubbed, ironically, “A Season in Hell’’ — at the posh Waldorf.

There, Messing posed with horror celeb Dita Von Teese, clad in top hat and tails, who bills herself as a “burlesque and fetish star.’’

Midler was dressed as the ghost of Coco Chanel, entertaining designer Michael Kors and his husband, Lance LePere.

The food was maintained by working refrigerators that could have been put to better use feeding people who aren’t bulimic.

The shindig, with tables going from $10,000 to $65,000, and co-chaired by Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, was barely 10 blocks from 40th Street. Below that line, thousands of New Yorkers lived without electricity, running water or hope, food spoiling in idle ice boxes.

The masquerade ball, according to the NYRP’s Web site — “with a Hawaiian twist in honor of Bette’s home state” — was to be attended by a “star-studded crowd of nearly 1,000 costumed guests,’’ a performance by Blondie, and a dinner by celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. “A French menu, can-can dancers, and French-themed decor and costumes,’’ pre-party literature promised.

Peyser concluded: "One would think that, if Messing insisted on attending the ridiculous event while New York suffered so dearly, she might have worn a less toxic costume. But some celebs just can’t resist sticking it to the have-nots. Let them eat cake, indeed."

For another view, there is the NYRP press release, which claimed they raised over $2 million to restore outdoor spaces in the city:

The funding from Hulaween supports NYRP initiatives -- including its newly announced signature program, MillionTreesNYC, in conjunction with Mayor Bloomberg and the City of New York to plant and care for one million trees throughout the five boroughs in the next decade....

NYRP reclaims, restores, and develops under-resourced open spaces in NewYork City's five boroughs. As "the conservancy of forgotten places," NYRP rescues public parks and community gardens that are most threatened by the challenges facing underserved communities. Since 1995, NYRP has steadily"cleaned and greened" some of New York City's most blighted public areas by removing over 80,000 tons of garbage and debris from project sites.

But the press release had nothing to say about Sandy or how the group might help with the city’s recovery.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis