Neil Meron, Craig Zadan, Shonda Rhimes, Facebook, and Wells Fargo to be honored at 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards presented by Ketel One and Wells Fargo

Harvey Weinstein to present Special Recognition Award to Katy Butler; Naya Rivera and Cory Monteith to host GLAAD Media Awards in New York; Dianna Agron to host GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco

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

March 15, 2012

Read and share our blog post: Facebook, Stars of Glee and Smash, Betty White, Josh Hutcherson, Jersey Shore's Vinny and more to appear at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards #glaadawards

Los Angeles, CA, March 15, 2012 The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the nation's lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today announced it will honor film and television producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Chicago, Hairspray, Smash), writer and producer Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal), financial services company Wells Fargo and Facebook at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards presented by Ketel One and Wells Fargo.

For more information visit http://www.glaad.org/mediaawards

Broadway legend Bernadette Peters will present the Vito Russo Award to Zadan and Meron at the New York award ceremony on March 24, 2012 at the Marriott Marquis Times Square, presented locally by Delta Air Lines and Prudential.  Peters will guest star on next week's episode of Smash.

Glee’s Cory Monteith and Naya Rivera will host the event.  GLAAD previously announced that Weinstein Company Co-Chairman and outspoken anti-bullying advocate Harvey Weinstein will present a Special Recognition Award to high school student Katy Butler.

Glee’s Dianna Agron will host the event in San Francisco on June 2 at the Marriott Marquis, presented locally by Southwest Airlines.  Rhimes will receive the Golden Gate Award, Wells Fargo will receive the Corporate Leader Award and Facebook will receive a Special Recognition Award at the ceremony.

Additional honorees and special guests for the April 21 Los Angeles event, presented locally by Delta Air Lines, to be announced.

Nominees for the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards were announced in January and are available here: http://www.glaad.org/mediaawards/nominees.  The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBT and the issues that affect their lives.

Smash producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will receive the Vito Russo Award, which is named after one of GLAAD's founders, and is presented to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting LGBT equality.  In a career spanning over two decades, Zadan and Meron's productions have garnered six Academy Awards, five Golden Globes, 11 Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, two Tony Awards and a Grammy Award.  In addition to producing iconic films such as the Academy Award-winning Chicago, The Bucket List, Hairspray and Footloose, two of their television movies have received GLAAD Media Awards, Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story in 1996 and What Makes a Family in 2002.  They also received GLAAD Media Awards nominations in 2004 and 2007 for It's all Relative and Wedding Wars.  Their current hit TV series Drop Dead Diva this year received its second nomination in the Outstanding Individual Episode category. Through many of their projects, Zadan and Meron have been trailblazers in telling the stories of the LGBT community.  In 1995, their film Serving in Silence, which aired on NBC, recounted the legal battle of Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer, who challenged "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" following her involuntary discharge under the law.  In the 2001 Lifetime movie What Makes a Family, Zadan and Meron recounted the story of a woman who had to fight for the custody of the child she shared with her deceased partner, and in their 2006 Wedding Wars (A&E), they told the story of a gay man who speaks out in favor of marriage equality when he discovers his straight brother, whose wedding he was planning, is behind an anti-gay speech. In 2010, the duo returned to their theater roots with the Tony winning Broadway revival of Promises, Promises starring openly gay actor Sean Hayes and GLAAD Vanguard Award-recipient Kristin Chenoweth.  Zadan and Meron’s Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying starred outspoken LGBT equality advocate Daniel Radcliffe.  Their current hit series Smash on NBC features a prominent gay character whose dating life is an important part of the show.  Previous Vito Russo Award honorees include Ricky Martin, Cynthia Nixon, Suze Orman, Rosie O'Donnell, Alan Cumming, Nathan Lane, Elton John, Liz Smith, k.d. lang, David LaChapelle, Brian Graden, and Tom Ford.

Shonda Rhimes will receive the Golden Gate Award, which is presented to media professionals who, through their work, have increased the visibility and understanding of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.  Rhimes has consistently included a variety of diverse LGBT storylines into her work.  Over her career, Rhimes' productions have been nominated for over 100 awards and received four Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards.  Her current hit medical drama, Grey's Anatomy, is nominated for a GLAAD Media Award in the Outstanding Drama Series category, and has received nominations in two previous years. A story on Grey's Anatomy about a transgender woman with cancer won the award for Outstanding Individual Episode at the 18th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. Rhimes' other dramas, Private Practice and Off the Map, have also included numerous LGBT characters.  Rhimes' new series Scandal will debut on ABC later this year. Through her series, she has taken on the issue of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," marriage equality, and adoptions by same-sex couples.  Previous Golden Gate Award recipients include Kim Cattrall, Megan Mullally, Jennifer Beals, Stockard Channing, Cybill Shepherd, Jennifer Tilly, James Schamus, and Brooke Shields.

Wells Fargo will be given the Corporate Leader Award which is presented to companies that exhibit LGBT inclusive policies, marketing practices, protection against discrimination, and provide enhanced healthcare benefits access for legally recognized partners and transgender employees.  Starting in the 1980s, Wells Fargo has shown continuous support to the LGBT community and has received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index for nine consecutive years.  Since 1998, all employee benefits have been extended to spouses in domestic partnerships. Wells Fargo has given over 14 million dollars in donations and put in countless volunteer hours into a number of organizations which serve the LGBT community.  The company is also the first in its industry to offer guidance to same-sex couples who do not benefit from the legal protections obtained through marriage.  In 2005, the corporation proudly defended its stance in support of the LGBT community when an anti-gay group threatened to stop services with Wells Fargo due to a donation made to GLAAD.  The company also received awards for LGBT-inclusive advertising including an award from GLAAD for its financial advisory project for same-sex couples launched in conjunction with The Advocate.

Facebook will receive a Special Recognition Award for the company's strong stand and leadership around bullying prevention as well as its inclusive options for LGBT users.  Following anti-gay comments on a memorial page for LGBT youth, Facebook worked with GLAAD to monitor the highly visible page and launched, in conjunction with several LGBT organizations, the Network of Support, which serves in a consultative capacity on issues of importance to the LGBT community like bullying prevention. Facebook's leadership on this issue was also recognized with an invitation to participate at the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention.  There, the company announced it was seeking feedback from teenagers on bullying prevention, aired a special "Facebook Live" broadcast, and unveiled new tools that allow abuse reports to be handled more efficiently.  In September, Facebook launched the Stop Bullying: Speak Up campaign with Time-Warner, which empowers students, educators and parents to help prevent bullying. Facebook also gives users the options to select "In a Civil Union" and "In a Domestic Partnership," recognizing the relationships of countless loving and committed same-sex couples. Additionally, Facebook was among corporate leaders that participated in Spirit Day with GLAAD by encouraging employees to turn Facebook photos purple and wear the color on October 20 as a sign of support for LGBT youth.

17-year-old Katy Butler launched a Change.org campaign last month to advocate that the 'R' rating of the upcoming documentary Bully be changed to 'PG-13.'  Last week Butler delivered more than 200,000 signatures to the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) Los Angeles office.  Today the Change.org action counts nearly 300,000 signatures.  Butler, a high school student from Michigan, came out in middle school and experienced bullying.  She has since garnered the attention of many well-known public figures including Justin Bieber, Ellen DeGeneres, Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep.  Representative Mike Honda of California also issued a letter to the MPAA in support of the rating change, which was signed by 20 additional Members of Congress.  The Weinstein Company has set up a Resource Guide for all fans who want to stay informed and support the movement against bullying: http://on.fb.me/yMtEDI.

"Each of these honorees has, in their different areas of expertise, helped build support for equality for every American," said GLAAD Acting President Mike Thompson.  "Whether they bring the stories of LGBT people into living rooms or empower gay and lesbian individuals to take proactive steps in the face of inequality, each honoree is making tremendous strides towards full acceptance of the community."

Special guests for the New York event include:  Dakota Fanning (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2); Martha Plimpton (Raising Hope); Megan Hilty (Smash); Carson Kressley (Dancing with the Stars); Padma Lakshmi (Top Chef); MSNBC's Thomas Roberts; Kim Wayans (Pariah); Vinny Guadagnino (Jersey Shore); Ted Allen (Chopped); Tracey Gold (Starving Secrets with Tracey Gold); Wendy Williams (The Wendy Williams Show); Laverne Cox (Musical Chairs); Jay Manuel, Isis King (America's Next Top Model); journalist Chris Geidner; writer Janet Mock; and Emil Wilbekin (Essence).

Special guests for the Los Angeles event include Betty White, Wendie Malick, Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves (Hot in Cleveland); Ellen DeGeneres (The Ellen DeGeneres Show); Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games); Anna Paquin (True Blood); Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family); Gilles Marini (Switched at Birth); Fran Drescher (Happily Divorced); Ali Larter (The Asset); Mario Lopez (Extra); Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato (Becoming Chaz, The Strange History of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell); Mike Mills (Beginners); and Josh Berman (Drop Dead Diva).  Additional names to be announced.

The GLAAD Media Awards ceremonies will be held in New York on March 24, 2012 at the Marriott Marquis Times Square; in Los Angeles on April 21 at the Westin Bonaventure; and in San Francisco on June 2 at San Francisco Marriott Marquis.

To receive the latest updates on the GLAAD Media Awards, follow @glaad and use the hashtag #glaadawards.

The GLAAD Media Awards fund GLAAD's work to bring stories of LGBT people and issues to Americans.  Each year, the GLAAD Media Awards in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco bring together more than 5,000 advocates and allies to raise nearly $3.5 million for the organization's work.

More than 100 corporate partners are showing their support, including National Presenting partners Ketel One and Wells Fargo, New York Presenting partners Delta Air Lines and Prudential, Los Angeles Presenting partner Delta Air Lines, and San Francisco Presenting partner Southwest Airlines.  GLAAD is also grateful to the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards Platinum Underwriter corporate partners: Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Comcast/NBC Universal, Disney-ABC Television Group/ESPN, IBM, Sheppard Mullin and Time Warner, as well as Underwriter corporate partners: Allstate Insurance Company, AT&T, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, David Yurman, Food Network/Cooking Channel, New York City Marriott Marquis & Renaissance Hotel, PricewaterhouseCoopers, VPI Pet Insurance and Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites.  For a full list of corporate partners and information on how to become a corporate partner, or to become a table host, purchase tickets or place a tribute in the tribute book, please visit www.glaad.org/mediaawards or call (212) 219-0111.