Andy Cohen “Honored and Humbled” As He Receives Vito Russo Award From Proud Friend Sarah Jessica Parker at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York

At the 30th Annual GLAAD Awards ceremony in New York City, Sarah Jessica Parker presented Emmy Award-winning host, producer, and author Andy Cohen with the Vito Russo Award. The Vito Russo Award is presented to an openly LGBTQ media professional who has made a significant difference in accelerating LGBTQ acceptance. The Award is named after Vito Russo, a founder of GLAAD and celebrated ACT UP activist, who pushed open the door for news and entertainment industries to include LGBTQ performers and stories. Previous Vito Russo honorees include Samira Wiley, Anderson Cooper, Ricky Martin, Cynthia Nixon, Rosie O’Donnell, Tom Ford, Billy Porter, Thomas Roberts, Suze Orman, and Alan Cumming, among others.

Sarah Jessica Parker introduced Cohen as “the son you want your own to grow up and be, the friend that you can't imagine your life without and now the father that will no doubt teach...his long awaited and beloved son Benjamin what it means to genuinely care for one another, to be a person of honor and principle, to throw your arms around opportunity and joy, to stand shoulder to shoulder with the unheard, the marginalized, the forgotten, to support the candidate that inspires, the issues that are important, to believe in the unimaginable and to never abandon curiosity or hope.”

Cohen’s acceptance speech highlighted his experience as a gay man in the entertainment industry, particularly focusing on how Vito Russo inspired him to come out at work. Cohen explained: “I’m so proud that Sarah Kate Ellis and GLAAD are continuing the work that Vito started. I’m only able to have the job that I have because of the LGBTQ people that fought and suffered and triumphed, they paved the way.”  Cohen ended his speech with: “What a gift that I spent today with my parents, and my son. When Benjamin was born three months ago, I looked into his eyes, and I saw there was no hate, no bias, no bigotry, just love. That is how we come into this world. And that is how we hopefully one day will leave it.”

Andy Cohen became the first out gay host of an American late-night talk show with the premiere of Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen in 2009. The Emmy-Award winning host and executive producer consistently speaks out on LGBTQ issues on the show including marriage equality, anti-transgender legislation, and hate violence against LGBTQ people, Jewish people, and people of color. He recently directly addressed the leader of Chechnya in an impassioned plea to end the torture and murder of LGBTQ people in Chechnya. Each year, Cohen and Watch What Happens Live participate in the Spirit Day campaign, showing their support for LGBTQ youth by going purple on the show and speaking out against bullying on-air. Cohen and the show frequently highlight the achievements of LGBTQ entertainers including Laverne Cox, Lena Waithe, Matt Bomer, Adam Rippon, Rosie O’Donnell, Billy Porter, Sam Smith and countless others.

In his ten years as an executive at Bravo he was responsible for an aggressive slate of unscripted series and specials that showcase and celebrate diverse LGBTQ people including "Project Runway,” “Top Chef,” “Queer Eye For the Straight Guy,” "The Millionaire Matchmaker,” the “Million Dollar Listing” franchise, “Top Design,” “Make Me a Supermodel,” “Blow Out,” “Kathy Griffin My Life On the D List,” “The Rachel Zoe Project,” “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover,” and “The Real Housewives” franchises.  He currently serves as executive producer of “The Real Housewives” franchise and hosts the network’s reunion specials. In Fall of 2015, Cohen launched “Radio Andy,” a personally curated channel on SiriusXM focused on pop culture, celebrities, LGBTQ issues, and relationships. He tackles also LGBTQ issues in his best-selling book imprint Andy Cohen Books and on his ‘AC2: An Intimate Evening with Anderson Cooper & Andy Cohen’ speaking tour.

In 2013, Cohen famously withdrew from hosting the Miss Universe pageant over host-country Russia’s anti-LGBTQ laws and inaction on anti-LGBTQ violence.  Cohen and Anderson Cooper also raised more than $240,000 for the OneOrlando Fund following the anti-LGBTQ shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Florida. He most recently announced work as an ambassador in the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative. Earlier this year, Cohen became father to his son Benjamin, and is publicly documenting his journey and experience as a gay, single dad. Cohen received an Emmy award when season six of “Top Chef” won Outstanding Reality Competition Program at the 2010 primetime Emmy Awards  and has been nominated for 18 additional Emmy Awards and multiple GLAAD Media Awards as Executive Producer of “ “Project Runway,” “Top Chef” and “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy.” In 2005, Cohen was awarded a Peabody Award for his role as Executive Producer of the TRIO documentary “The N Word” and another in 2008 as an Executive Producer of “Project Runway.” Cohen ran Original Programming and Development for the pop culture and arts cable channel TRIO, beginning in July 2000. He was responsible for developing and supervising all of TRIO's original productions including the critically acclaimed original documentaries “Gay Republicans,” “Easy Riders/Raging Bulls,” and “Brilliant, But Cancelled.”  He spent ten years (1990-2000) as a producer at CBS News, working on “CBS This Morning” and “48 Hours.”

“Andy Cohen is a force in the entertainment industry who consistently prioritizes and celebrates LGBTQ stories,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Both on-screen and behind-the-scenes, Andy’s trademark brand of LGBTQ advocacy has resulted in some of the buzziest and entertaining culture changing moments.”

The 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York were filled with moments of celebration, reflection, and honoring of LGBTQ voices. Madonna accepted the Advocate for Change award, presented by Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen accepted the Vito Russo award, presented by Sarah Jessica Parker. Other major winners included the cast of Pose (Outstanding Drama Series), Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (Outstanding Variety or Talk Show), and CNN Tonight with Don Lemon (Outstanding TV Journalism Segment).

The New York City ceremony will air exclusively on Logo on Sunday, May 12 at 8pm ET/PT.

The 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards are supported by Presenting Partners Delta Air Lines, Gilead, Hyundai, Ketel One Family-Made Vodka, and Wells Fargo. GLAAD is also grateful to: Official Partners Bud Light and Google; Titanium Partner AT&T and WEN; Platinum Partners Comcast NBCUniversal-Telemundo, Creative Artists Agency, Disney ABC Television Group, Facebook/Instagram, HBO, Hulu, Kaiser Permanente, MetLife, NBA & WNBA, Netflix, Omnicom Group, PRG, Sheppard Mullin, Turner; Gold Partners CBS/Showtime, Nielsen, PWC, UM, Univision, and VER; and Silver Partners Allstate, Coca-Cola, Morgan Stanley, and Warner Bros.