Last night on New York Street on the FOX Studios Lot, GLAAD and FOX Audience Strategy hosted a panel discussion addressing LGBT media representations, and their importance in bringing about culture change. Hernan Lopez, FOX International Channels President and GLAAD Board Member, introduced the event as well as GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, who spoke about the dramatic improvements in LGBT representation on television Fox has made in recent years. Sarah Kate also previewed FOX's scores on GLAAD's upcoming Studio Responsibility Index and Network Responsibility Index, which rank the quantity and quality of LGBT images in film and on TV. In last year's NRI, FOX led all broadcast networks with 42% of its primetime programming being LGBT-inclusive.
Sarah Kate then took part in a panel discussion that also included actors Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollett from the upcoming FOX series Empire, executive producer Margaret Nagle and actor/GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz from the upcoming Red Band Society, Glee producer Dante Di Lorento, and advocate and former NFL player Wade Davis from the You Can Play Project, one of GLAAD's partner organizations. The panel was moderated by FOX COO Joe Earley.
The discussion addressed topics like changing attitudes in the America's heartland and the south, as well as media-fed misconceptions about LGBT people and religion. Taraji P. Henson discussed her Empire character's relationship with her gay son and the importance of modelling acceptance, and Wade Davis explained why eliminating homophobia in sports was reliant on also eliminating sexism. Dante Di Lorento, Wilson Cruz, and Margaret Nagle also discussed how much shows like My So Called Life and Glee have meant to LGBT youth who felt isolated and hopeless.
GLAAD would like to thank FOX Audience Strategy for putting the event together, and helping to continue this important conversation.
Pictured: Twentieth Century FOX Television Chairman Gary Newman, GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis, FOX Audience Strategy EVP Nicole A. Bernard, FOX International Channels President and CEO Hernan Lopez, Red Band Society actor and GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz