Kelly Ripa, Thomas Roberts Honored at 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York

Lilting, Sports Illustrated, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, MSNBC Live, Nick News with Linda Ellerbee among award recipients
May 10, 2015

Seth Adam
Director of Communications, GLAAD
(646) 871-8018

New York  – GLAAD, the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy organization, honored Kelly Ripa, Thomas Roberts, and the best in film, television, and journalism at the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Waldorf Astoria New York on Saturday. Anderson Cooper, Jeffrey Tambor, Judith Light, Laverne Cox, Rupert Friend, Lynda Carter, Ross Mathews, Jussie Smollett, Jonathan Groff, Tituss Burgess, Michael Sam, Jason Collins, Janet Mock, Andreja Pejić, and Dascha Polanco were among the special guests. The 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards are presented by Delta Air Lines, Hilton, Ketel One Vodka, and Wells Fargo; and Official Presenting Partners Amazon and Bud Light.

Photographs from the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York may be found immediately at or  Video clips of the ceremonies may be found at

The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives. The GLAAD Media Awards also fund GLAAD's work to amplify stories from the LGBT community and issues that build support for acceptance.

At the ceremony, Anderson Cooper presented Kelly Ripa with GLAAD's Excellence in Media 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.

In her acceptance speech Ripa said, "I celebrated my 19th wedding anniversary last week and as I was trying to come up with something impactful to say tonight, I couldn't help but think of all of the people in this country and across the globe who have been denied the joy that I have known for 19 years […] The Supreme Court is in the midst of making some big decisions deciding the fate of marriage equality throughout this country. But it must not end there. Equality means equality across the board. We must not allow discrimination to be rebranded and used against people in other facets of society including housing, employment, and education. Like everybody in this room, I watch hoping and trusting that it will move the nation towards the same type of acceptance that my own children are growing up with here in New York City."

Also at the event, Lynda Carter presented MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts with the Vito Russo Award. The Vito Russo Award is named after one of GLAAD's co-founders and the author of The Celluloid Closet. The award is presented to an out lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality for the LGBT community. 

In accepting the award Roberts said, "I thank my MSNBC and NBC family for encouraging me to be the best me, giving me a place to be a broadcaster and journalist covering LGBT issues with vigor, passion, and respect for all views. GLAAD you are the big brother and big sister that we all need. Let's hear it for GLAAD because their resolve and their mission is unparalleled. I dream of a day that GLAAD's work is done, but lgbtq-phobias and discrimination still exist domestically and internationally and we need to continue to ask our straight allies to stand with us as the LGBT community continues to break stereotypes everywhere from classroom leaders, to pro sports, political leaders, and yes, people who report the news. And that is why coming out is so empowering. For those of us with the privilege to work in media our viewers and listeners deserve to know who we really are because there is nothing to be ashamed of when this is your truth."

Jussie Smollett from FOX's Empire presented the award for Outstanding Talk Show Episode to HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver for an episode featuring Ugandan transgender activist Pepe Julian Onziema. Onziema accepted the award on behalf of the show.

Jeffrey Tambor and Judith Light, stars of Transparent, this year's GLAAD Media Award recipient for Outstanding Comedy Series, presented the award for Outstanding TV Journalism Segment to MSNBC Live for the segment "Fired for Being Gay?" Accepting for MSNBC Live were anchor Craig Melvin and Latta, S.C. Police Chief Crystal Moore, who was featured in the piece.

Jonathan Groff from HBO's Looking and Tituss Burgess from Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt presented the award for Outstanding Magazine Overall Coverage to Sports Illustrated. Managing Editor Chris Stone, NBA player Jason Collins and football player Michael Sam accepted on behalf of the publication.

GLAAD previously announced that BioWare's hit video game Dragon Age: Inquisition and the song "Era Diferente" by the legendary Mexican band Los Tigres del Norte would receive Special Recognition Awards.

Anderson Cooper presented the Excellence in Media Award to Kelly Ripa. Lynda Carter presented the Vito Russo Award to journalist Thomas Roberts. Comedian Ross Mathews hosted the event. Out country singer Ty Herndon performed with Antigone Rising's Kristen Henderson and guitarist Anita Cochran. Other guests included: Jeffrey Tambor, Judith Light, Trace Lysette (Transparent); Rupert Friend (Homeland) and fiancé Aimee Mullins; Jonathan Groff (Looking); Laverne Cox, Dascha Polanco, Jackie Cruz (Orange Is the New Black); Janet Mock (So Popular!); Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt); Mark Consuelos (Alpha House); Rachael Harris (Suits) and her fiancé Christian Hebel; Karla Mosley, Scott T. Schofield, Crystal Chappell (The Bold and the Beautiful); out NBA player Jason Collins; out football player Michael Sam and fiancé Vito Cammisano; Craig Melvin (MSNBC Live) and wife Lindsay Czarniak (SportsCenter); Alicia Menendez (Alicia Menendez Tonight); models Andreja Pejić, Carmen Carrera, Rain Dove, Josephine Skriver, Cory Wade; Monifah Carter and her wife Terez Thorpe (R&B Divas: Atlanta); recording artist Maya Vik; Terry Artis, Jonathan Bodrick, Brandon Hood, JJ Langan, Devin Stokes, Kristen Brown (B.O.R.N. to Style); Josh Canfield, Reed Kelly (Survivor); Louise Sorel (Days of Our Lives); Sam Champion (The Weather Channel); out WWE wrestler Darren Young; designer Mitchell Gold; John Gidding, Theodore Leaf, Rob Younkers (Secret Guide to Fabulous); and GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.

Following is a complete list of GLAAD Media Award recipients announced Saturday in New York.  Additional awards were presented in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton on March 21.

  • Vito Russo Award:  Thomas Roberts  (presented by Lynda Carter)
  • Excellence in Media Award:  Kelly Ripa  (presented by Anderson Cooper)
  • Outstanding Talk Show Episode:  "Pepe Julian Onziema" Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)  [accepted by: Ugandan transgender activist Pepe Julian Onziema who accepted on behalf of the show]
  • Outstanding TV Journalism Segment:  "Fired for Being Gay?" MSNBC Live (MSNBC)  [accepted by: MSNBC reporter Craig Melvin, and by Latta, S.C. Police Chief Crystal Moore]
  • Outstanding Magazine Overall Coverage:  Sports Illustrated  [accepted by: Jason Collins, Michael Sam, and Sports Illustrated Managing Editor Chris Stone]
  • Outstanding Film – Limited Release:  Lilting (Strand Releasing)
  • Outstanding Documentary:  L Word Mississippi: Hate the Sin (Showtime)
  • Outstanding Reality Program:  R&B Divas: Atlanta (TV One)
  • Outstanding TV Journalism – Newsmagazine:  "Coming Out" Nick News with Linda Ellerbee (Nickelodeon)
  • Outstanding Newspaper Article:  "Longtime Utah LGBT Advocates Recount Brutal History" by Erin Alberty (Salt Lake City Tribune)
  • Outstanding Magazine Article:  "The Transgender Tipping Point" by Katy Steinmetz (Time)
  • Outstanding Digital Journalism – Multimedia:  "Why did the U.S. Lock Up These Women with Men?" by Cristina Costantini, Jorge Rivas, Kristofer Ríos (


  • Outstanding TV Journalism – Newsmagazine: TIE: "Felipe Najera abre su corazón" Primer Impacto (Univision) and "Orlando Cruz habla de su vida" Al Rojo Vivo (Telemundo)
  • Outstanding TV Journalism Segment:  "La historia de una [mujer] transexual" Café CNN (CNN en Español)
  • Outstanding Newspaper Article:  "Mamá, soy homosexual dijo Ricardo; su familia no entendió y lo corrió de su casa" by Selene Rivera (Hoy Los Angeles)
  • Outstanding Digital Journalism Article:  "Identidades invisibles" [serie] by Marcos Billy Guzmán (
  • Outstanding Digital Journalism – Multimedia:  "¿Que es ENDA?" by Cary Tabares (

In January, GLAAD announced 104 nominees in 21 English-language categories, and 40 Spanish-language nominees in 10 categories. Nominees for the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards can be found here: The Los Angeles GLAAD Media Awards ceremony took place on April 21 at the Beverly Hilton. A recap of the Los Angeles event may be found at

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

The 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards is presented by Delta Air Lines, Hilton, Ketel One Vodka, and Wells Fargo; and Official Presenting Partners Amazon and Bud Light.  GLAAD also thanks this year's corporate partners, which include: Titanium Partners- 21st Century Fox, ABC-Disney Television Group and Southwest Airlines; Platinum Partners- Allstate Insurance Company, AT&T, Coca-Cola, Comcast/NBC Universal, Facebook, HBO, NBA, WNBA, PwC, Sheppard Mullin, Time Warner and Viacom;  Gold Partners- CBS/Showtime, Nielsen, Omnicom, UM Worldwide, Univision, Westfield, and WWE; and Silver Partners- Bloomberg, Carat, Citi, Discovery Life, MLB, NFL, Skadden and US Bank. For a full list of corporate partners and information on how to become a corporate partner, purchase tickets, and place a tribute in the tribute book, please visit