June 07, 2018 06:26 PM

Debra Messing revealed that she was sexually harassed on her very first Hollywood film.

Speaking at a roundtable hosted by The Hollywood Reporter, Messing recalled a disturbing series of incidents on the set of 1995’s A Walk in the Clouds.

“It wasn’t until we started having these conversations that I realized I had been sexually harassed,” the Will & Grace star, 49, began. “I had said, ‘Oh, that’s the business. And then all of a sudden, I was like, ‘Wait a minute, no, that’s not the business. I was sexually harassed.’ ”

The film was Messing’s first role after completing the elite Graduate Acting Program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. “I was tricked into signing a nudity waiver by the producers [who] basically said, ‘Oh, the director just has a big ego, it’s PG-13, we cannot show anything, so if you sign it, nothing’s gonna happen.’ ”

Debra Messing.
Jared Siskin/Getty Images

When she arrived on set for the scene, Messing said the producers changed their story. “They said, ‘OK, this is your lingerie for the first part and this is your nude scene.’ And I said, ‘Nude scene?’ They’re like, ‘Oh, yeah.’ And the producers were there and I went in and I was like, ‘Wait a minute, we talked on the phone, you said that it wasn’t gonna happen, it’s PG-13.’ And they’re like, ‘Not in international.’ ”

RELATED VIDEO: Will Harvey Weinstein Scandal Change Things for Women and Sexual Harassment in Hollywood?

Messing said things “got worse” when she asked director Alfonso Arau how the scene would be shot. “I’m like, ‘You know, I like to be prepared, can you tell me where the angles are?’ And [Arau] literally said, ‘How dare you ask me to tell you what my shot is going to be? You are an actress, it’s your job to get naked.’ ”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Arau has publicly dismissed Messing’s claim, saying previously that it “had nothing to do with reality.” A spokesperson for the director told PEOPLE he would not be commenting further on Messing’s claim.

Messing went through with the scene, explaining, “I was getting paid nothing but it was my big break and so I was like, ‘Just close your eyes and get through it.’ ” The film did not end up showing any nudity in its domestic or international release.

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