Why The E! Network Might Be The New Matt Damon

Picture someone running alongside a moving freight train, trying to speed-hop alongside it while attempting to swing one leg onto the platform or clamber up with one hand, only to realise that their hips won’t rotate that much and they don’t possess the ability to both keep up and get on board.

That’s kind of what it was like watching E! News on the red carpet at last night’s Golden Globes. In fairness, co-hosts Giuliana Rancic and Ryan Seacrest were given a tough task, as the red carpet became a platform for protest with nearly all attendees wearing black in solidarity with gender discrimination and abuse. Determined to use the carpet as a megaphone for topical issues rather than the usual fashion chit chat and gossip, 95% of the hosts' go-to questions were suddenly off the table.

And they did start out with good intentions. Rancic announced that she and Seacrest had promised not to ask what attendees are wearing but rather why they are wearing black. However, despite making this promise, it was clear they hadn’t considered what kind of answers they might get or how to deal with them in a meaningful way.

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And they were bowled straight into the deep end with Debra Messing, who answered that she wore black in support of Cat Sadler and spoke of her shock that the E! Network had refused to pay her the equivalent of her male co-host. Sarah Jessica Parker, Laura Dern and Eva Longoria also referenced the issue. Seacrest and Rancic both side-stepped the conversation with generic praise and a swift subject change, which is disappointing but not all that surprising.

However, the whole broadcast became even more cringe-worthy as both Seacrest and Rancic fumbled with their blind deference for the women of Time’s Up, yet missed opportunity after opportunity to ask the pertinent questions. Many celebrities brought activists as their dates and while the E! hosts took the time to introduce each one and get the spiel of what they do and why it’s important, it was never followed up with an interesting or insightful question. A few were also cut off in order to get in a word with their more-famous companion, which is not abnormal during a live broadcast but seemed particularly tone-deaf in this instance.

And not only could they not summon an informed response to any of the issue represent to them, but they drowned in their attempts to bridge the gap between such hard-hitting issues represented by these women with the films that their dates were promoting. Considering they are both experienced interviewers, it was bizarre to see how much they floundered.

But try they did, and their supplement questions were equally as painful. Some were asked about their New Year’s resolutions, others about their jewellery and very few of the male attendees (also wearing black) were ever asked as to why they were wearing black. There was also that God-awful “Glambot” 360 swivel thing, which was introduced by E! correspondent Justin Sylvester, saying, “Let me just tell you, our coverage is woke!”

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The whole situation reeked of ignorance, an ignorance that E! Network can no longer be wilfully blind to. Like Matt Damon and his butchered attempts to be on the right side of history regarding sexual misconduct in Hollywood, or Jimmy Fallon’s ruffling of Donald Trump’s hair, the whole broadcast felt embarrassingly out-of-touch with the mood of the movement and bafflingly out-of-date with the female viewers they rely so heavily on.

Featured image via Instagram @ryanseacrest

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