FACEBOOK, CNBC, MTV, PEPSICO, and SEVENTEEN JOIN CONAN O’BRIEN, SONJA MORGAN, MEHCAD BROOKS, JAMIE PRESSLEY AND MILLIONS TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST ANTI-LGBT BULLYING BY ‘GOING PURPLE’ ON SPIRIT DAY, OCTOBER 20

GLAAD RELEASES NEW ANTI-BULLYING PSAs STARRING BEN COHEN, REV. AL SHARPTON, RUSSELL SIMMONS, LISA VANDERPUMP, AND JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Rich Ferraro
Director of Communications, GLAAD
(646) 871-8011
ferraro@glaad.org

October 17, 2011

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) will join millions of lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and allies by participating in Spirit Day and wearing purple on October 20, 2011. Wearing purple on this day symbolizes support for LGBT people and against bullying of LGBT teens. For more information visit: www.glaad.org/spiritday. Anti-bullying PSA videos were also released starring Russell Simmons, Rev. Al Sharpton, Lisa Vanderpump and more at www.glaad.org/amplifyyourvoice. Comcast will serve as a leading media partner for the PSA campaign, contributing $3 million in airtime and reaching over 20 million homes.

GLAAD is working with organizations including GLSEN, GSA Network, PFLAG and The Trevor Project as part of National Bullying Prevention Month to inspire Americans to wear purple on Spirit Day.

Conan O’Brien will join CNBC’s Jim Cramer and Simon Hobbs, Dr. Drew of CNN, E!’s Marc Malkin, Thomas Roberts of MSNBC and hosts of CBS’ The Talk by wearing purple on-air. Seventeen magazine will turn its Twitter avatar purple for the day.

MTV will be turning the on-air logo purple along with its Facebook, Twitter, MTV.com and MTV Act logos. Online and on-air logos for MTV2, mtvU, MTV Hits, MTV Jams and RateMyProfessors.com will also turn purple. MTV 44 and ½, the jumbotron in Times Square, will also light purple for Spirit Day.

Companies including AMC Entertainment, American Airlines, AT&T, B|W|R Public Relations, Comcast, Delta, Draftfcb, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, Hewlett-Packard, McGraw-Hill, NBCUniversal, Nielsen, PepsiCo, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Verizon, Viacom, and Yahoo! will participate. Participating companies will be distributing information to employees about wearing purple. Some have also pledged to turn logos purple for the day. For more information on specific plans visit: www.glaad.org/spiritday/corporate.

In addition to wearing purple on October 20, supporters will be changing their Facebook and Twitter photos purple today through October 20 by using free applications that were released to turn profile photos purple at www.glaad.org/spiritday. GLAAD also partnered with Mobli to create a Spirit Day channel for Mobli apps on Android, Blackberry and iPhone products. Mobli, where users can share moments and see the world through other people’s eyes, is a real-time, visual social media platform, made up of subject-based channels such as people, places and topics (www.mobli.com/spiritday).

Celebrity participants include: the casts of FOX’s I Hate My Teenage Daughter and Sundance Channel’s Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys, Tamra Barney (Bravo, Real Housewives of Orange County), Mehcad Brooks (USA, Necessary Roughness), Laura Bruce (WE, Downsized), Margaret Cho, Andy Cohen (Bravo), Wilson Cruz, Drew Ginsburg (Bravo, Most Eligible Dallas), Josh Kilmer-Purcell & Brent Ridge (Fabulous Beekman Boys), Carson Kressley (ABC, Dancing With The Stars), Padma Lakshmi (Bravo, Top Chef), Kristi Lauren (I Hate My Teenage Daughter), Vanessa Marano (ABC Family, Switched at Birth), Shay Mitchell (ABC Family, Pretty Little Liars), Sonja Morgan (Real Housewives of New York), Mary Murphy (So You Think You Can Dance), David Nadelberg (Sundance Channel, The Mortified Sessions), Matt Nordgren (Bravo, Most Eligible Dallas), Martha Plimpton (FOX, Raising Hope), Rosie Pope (Bravo, Pregnant in Heels), Jamie Pressly (FOX, I Hate My Teenage Daughter), Jai Rodriguez, Garo Sparo (Sundance Channel, Unleashed by Garo), Steve-O, TJ Thyne (Bones), Diann Valentine (WE, I Do Over), Kathy Wakile (Bravo, Real Housewives of New Jersey), and Joe Zee (Sundance Channel, All on the Line with Joe Zee). Participating celebrities will wear purple or change Twitter and Facebook photos for the day. Participants in 2010 included Cyndi Lauper, Ricky Martin, Khloe Kardashian, Ryan Seacrest, Perez Hilton, Kristin Chenoweth, the Dixie Chicks, cast members from of Glee, and Joan Rivers, among dozens of others.

As previously announced, the Sundance Channel’s employees will be participating, and the Sundance Channel’s social media logos will turn to purple on Spirit Day.

LOGO will air a Spirit Day purple ribbon on the channel to drive viewers to NewNowNext.com to increase awareness against bullying. Additionally, their Twitter (@LogoTV) and Facebook photos will ‘go purple’ and pictures of staff, fans and talent will be posted to Tumblr throughout the day.

Here Media will turn logos on Advocate.com, Gay.com, Gay.net, Out.com, OutTraveler.com and SheWired.com purple for the day.

Additional media participants include the Bilerico Project, Passport, San Diego Gay & Lesbian News and Windy City Times.

In addition to the American Federation of Teachers, GLSEN, GSA Network, Lambda Legal, the PACER Center and The Trevor Project, dozens of local and faith-based organization are also participating in Spirit Day including: All Families Matter, Basic Rights Oregon, Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry, Pacific School of Religion

Coalition of Welcoming Congregations of the Bay Area, DignityUSA, COLAGE, Equality Hawaii, Equality Illinois, Equality Michigan, Equality Pennsylvania, Equality South Carolina, Equality Texas, Equality Utah, Equality Virginia, Fair Wisconsin, Georgia Equality, GMHC, Human Rights Campaign's Religion & Faith Program, Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Kansas Equality Coalition, Keshet, Lutherans Concerned/North America, Marriage Equality Rhode Island (MERI), Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC), Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), More Light Presbyterians, Nehirim: GLBT Jewish Culture and Spirituality, OutFront Minnesota. PFLAG Omaha, Project 515, PROMO, Straight But Not Narrow, Reconciling Ministries Network, Religious Institute: Faithful Voices on Sexuality and Religion, Tennessee Equality Project, Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER) and United Church of Christ Office for LGBT Ministries.

For a list of celebrity participants, media outlets, TV networks, organizations and corporations, visit www.glaad.org/spiritday/partners. Additional participants will be announced in coming days.

Spirit Day was started in 2010 by teenager Brittany McMillan as a way to show support for LGBT youth and remember those lives lost to suicide. Millions of teachers, workplaces, media personalities and students wore purple, which symbolizes spirit on the rainbow flag.

Spirit Day coincides with GLSEN’s ‘Ally Week’ (October 17-21), a week for students to organize events that serve to identify, support and celebrate allies against anti-LGBT language, bullying and harassment in America’s schools and communities. GLSEN has partnered with GLAAD to promote Spirit Day as an event for students to participate in during ‘Ally Week.’ For more information about ‘Ally Week,’ visit www.allyweek.org.

“From corporate America to Hollywood to local grassroots advocates, Americans are taking a stand against bullying this Spirit Day and showing all LGBT teens that it’s okay to be who you are,” said GLAAD President Mike Thompson.

As part of National Bullying Prevention Month, GLAAD also released new anti-bullying public service announcements (PSAs) in the ‘Amplify Your Voice’ campaign -- a project developed with the American Federation of Teachers and featuring the personal stories of young people from New York’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center’s Youth Enrichment Services (YES) Program. New talent includes Ted Allen, Tabatha Coffey, Nelsan Ellis, Amber Heard, Liz Lee, Russell Simmons, Rev. Al Sharpton, Lisa Vanderpump, Louis Van-Amstel, and Jane Velez-Mitchell. Additional videos to be released in coming weeks.

The PSAs urge viewers to take a stand against anti-LGBT bullying and direct viewers to GLAAD.org for resource kits offering best practices to parents, teachers and students. The free kits feature resources from the American Federation of Teachers, GLSEN, the National Center for Transgender Equality and The Trevor Project, among others.

Videos and resource kits are available here: www.glaad.org/amplifyyourvoice. Media interested in posted the videos can find instructions here: http://www.glaad.org/resources/amplifyyourvoice/psa/press.