Sean Hayes Receives Stephen F. Kolzak Award from Allison Janney at 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles

Out actor Sean Hayes received the Stephen F. Kolzak Award at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on March 28th. The Stephen F. Kolzak award is given to an individual who has made a significant difference in promoting LGBTQ acceptance. Hayes was presented with the award by his dear friend, Allison Janney.

In her introduction, Allison Janney gave a hilarious tribute to Sean’s work on-screen and on behalf of LGBTQ people: “My friend Sean is a throwback. You just don’t find entertainers like this anymore. He does it all: brilliant physical comedy, musical theatre chops, flawless timing... a once-in-a generation performer. From the very first time I saw Sean on Will & Grace, I knew he was in a category with the greats: Jerry Lewis, Dick Van Dyke, Danny Kaye, and so many others who you guys have never heard of because you’re on your phones, wasting your lives on Grindr." She continued, "Sean’s not just a wildly talented actor who’s portrayed one of the most iconic gay characters in television history. Over the span of his career, he has become an incredible advocate for the LGBTQ community offscreen."

In his acceptance speech, Sean thanked his husband Scott and took a jab at anti-LGBTQ Vice President Mike Pence: “Thank you, GLAAD, for this incredible honor.  I’m humbled and truly grateful to be here with all of you tonight.  And also a big thank you to Sarah Kate Ellis, and congratulations to her and this entire organization on the 30th anniversary of the GLAAD Media Awards.  Wow, thirty years. That’s three proud decades of being Mike Pence’s worst nightmare.  Or wildest dream?  We may never know.”

Hayes married his partner Scott Icenogle in 2014 and the two produce videos on their YouTube Channel The Kitchen Sync. They performed a viral lip sync in response to the passage of marriage equality and also penned ‘Plum,’ a children’s book about the sugar plum fairy together. Hayes and his husband visited his hometown elementary school to read the story to students of all ages. Hayes previously presented GLAAD’s Vanguard Award to LGBTQ ally Kristin Chenoweth at the 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards. He recently worked with GLAAD to promote the Together Movement, calling on marginalized communities to support and take part in LGBTQ Pride Month. He also has participated in Spirit Day alongside the cast of Will & Grace by sending video messages of support of LGBTQ youth.

In a statement, GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said, “For many Americans, the TV character of Jack McFarland was one of the first out and proud gay men who they met and cheered for. Sean’s portrayal of Jack changed countless hearts and minds, and increased LGBTQ visibility at a time in history when representation and inclusion were low. On screen and off screen, Sean uses his platforms to advance stories and messages that make the world laugh, make the world think, and further acceptance of all.”

The Stephen F. Kolzak award is named after a legendary casting director, who devoted the last part of his life to raising awareness in the entertainment industry about the discrimination faced by LGBTQ people as well as people living with HIV. Previous Stephen F. Kolzak honorees include Laverne Cox, Ellen DeGeneres, Troye Sivan, Ruby Rose, Chaz Bono, Wanda Sykes, Melissa Etheridge, Alan Ball, Pedro Zamora, Martina Navratilova, Paris Barclay, Robert Greenblatt, and Sir Ian McKellen.

The 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards continue in New York City on Saturday, May 4th. GLAAD previously announced that Madonna will receive the Advocate for Change Award and Andy Cohen will receive the Vito Russo Award from Sarah Jessica Parker at the New York ceremony. Other special guests include Don Lemon, cast members of Pose and Samantha Bee.

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.

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