E! News, Joel Burns, Ryan Seacrest, Jill Zarin, and Others Join GLAAD in Anti-Bullying Campaign

Millions Pledge to Wear Purple on Spirit Day, October 20
October 20, 2010

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

Stars 'Go Purple' on Twitter and Facebook

October 20, 2010, New York, NY - E! Network, Alyssa Milano, Ryan Seacrest, Giuliana Rancic, MSNBC's Thomas Roberts, star of Bravo's Real Housewives of NYC Jill Zarin, Khloe Kardashian, Cyndi Lauper, Marc Malkin and Joel Burns are among those who today joined the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) in pledging to wear purple on Wednesday, October 20, 2010, to show support for the victims of anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) bullying.

Spirit Day now counts millions of Americans committed on Facebook to wearing the color purple on October 20 to remember youth lost to anti-LGBT bullying.

E! Online, Kardashian, Milano, Seacrest,  Zarin, singer Darren Hayes, actor Wilson Cruz, singer Chely Wright, Ilene Chaiken and others also supported GLAAD's call for Americans to turn their Facebook and Twitter photos purple until Wednesday and to share messages of support for LGBT youth. For more information on the free application and suggested messages, please visit http://www.glaad.org/SpiritDay.

"I will be wearing purple this Wednesday,” said Zarin.  "No child should be the victim of bullying, and as parents, we need to teach our children that everyone deserves to be accepted for who they are." 

 “E! News” anchors Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana Rancic, along with “E! News Now” anchors Amy Paffrath and Melana Scantlin, will wear purple on the air today. E! Online will also participate in Spirit Day by making all of its story headlines and breaking news banners purple throughout the day and posting a photo gallery of celebrities wearing purple in support of the cause.  Employees of Comcast Entertainment Group (E!, Style Network and G4) have also been encouraged to wear purple.

Joel Burns, the Fort Worth, Texas, councilman confirmed he will be wearing purple on The Ellen DeGeneres Show during his appearance today.  GLAAD provided media relations assistance and interview preparation after his City Council speech regarding bullying became a viral YouTube phenomenon.

Several local and national organizations have also signed on to support Spirit Day, including Equality California, Equality Pennsylvania, Equality Texas, Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) Network, Georgia Equality, Give a Damn Campaign, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Indiana Equality, MassEquality, Michigan Equality, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the Trevor Project and Vermont Freedom to Marry. LGBT bloggers including Bil Browning, Joe Jervis, and Jeremy Hooper and sites including Advocate.com, AfterEllen and AfterElton have also participated.

“How many lives have to be lost before we put a stop to homophobic abuse and bullying in our schools,” asked GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. “By wearing purple this Wednesday, we will not only demonstrate our support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth; we will also show educators and school administrators that the time to end anti-LGBT bullying is now.”

Spirit Day was first developed by teenager Brittany McMillan and inspired the creation of several Facebook event pages, including “R.I.P. ;; In memory of the recent suicides due to gay abuse, wear purple” which now has over 1 million supporters.

After being alerted to violent and hateful anti-gay comments on the page, GLAAD worked with Facebook to remove the comments and confirmed that Facebook will take new measures to respond more quickly to homophobic posts.

Purple symbolizes 'spirit' on the rainbow flag, a symbol for LGBT Pride that was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978.

LGBT youth in need of immediate help should contact The Trevor Project 's 24/7 Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386) or The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).