LOS ANGELES, CA – Sept. 4, 2013 – GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, today announced it will honor Emmy® and Golden Globe® award-winning producer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason; Academy ® and Emmy® award-winning global entertainment company Lionsgate; Emmy® and Golden Globe® award-winning actor Jim Parsons and his partner, art director Todd Spiewak; and the 2013 Student Advocate of the Year at the 9th annual GLSEN Respect Awards – Los Angeles presented by Target, The Walt Disney Company and Wells Fargo, to take place at The Beverly Hills Hotel on Friday, Oct. 18.
The GLSEN Respect Awards, held annually in Los Angeles and New York, showcase the work of organizations, individuals, students and educators who have made a significant difference in the areas of diversity, inclusion and the safe schools movement, and who serve as exemplary role models.
“GLSEN is the leading national education organization working to end bullying and create safe schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity, and we are proud to honor supporters who are committed to a world where young people learn to value and respect all people,” said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN’s Executive Director. “This year, we are pleased to recognize Lionsgate, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, Jim Parsons & Todd Spiewak, and our 2013 Student Advocate of the Year, all of whom share our passion and commitment of making sure that every student is able to succeed in school and reach their full potential.”
This year, GLSEN is proud to announce honorees in the following Respect Awards categories:
Lifetime Achievement Award: Linda Bloodworth-Thomason
Linda Bloodworth Thomason is an award winning producer and writer known for creating television series with often Southern and always strong, memorable, female characters. In 1983, she formed a production company with her husband, director Harry Thomason, and together they have produced more than three hundred and fifty episodes for television. A former high school English teacher in Watts, Linda is also an award winning writer, who has been nominated for numerous Emmys, from MASH to the critically acclaimed series, Designing Women, to the Emmy and Golden Globe winning, Evening Shade. As a close friend and supporter of President Clinton, Linda wrote and directed all three of this Democratic Convention films, including the iconic Man from Hope, as well as the 2008 Democratic Convention film for then Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. She is currently adapting her New York Times bestselling novel Liberating Paris, which explores the new South’s struggle with racial and marriage inequality, for the large screen. Linda is a strong supporter of the LGBT community. In 1987, her Designing Women script, Killing All the Right People, was the first American television show to address the AIDS crisis. Recently, she wrote and directed the same sex love story, Bridegroom, a documentary which won the audience prize at the 2013 TriBeca Film Festival. A staunch supporter of women, Linda established the Designing Women Foundation, which has provided over a hundred and fifty college scholarships to impoverished women in the rural South.
Chairman’s Award: Lionsgate
Lionsgate is a leading global entertainment company with a strong and diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, family entertainment, digital distribution, new channel platforms and international distribution and sales. Its feature film business has been fueled by such recent successes as the blockbuster first installment of The Hunger Games franchise, The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn – Part 2, Now You See Me, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, Tyler Perry’s Temptation, Warm Bodies, Perks of Being A Wallflower, The Expendables 2, The Possession, Sinister, The Cabin in the Woods, Mud and Arbitrage. Lionsgate currently has 28 television shows on 20 different networks including iconic brands such as the multiple Emmy®-award-winning Mad Men and recent hits such as Orange is the New Black, Anger Management and Nashville. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 15,000 motion picture and television titles. The Lionsgate and Summit brands remain synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.
Inspiration Award: Jim Parsons & Todd Spiewak
Jim Parsons and Todd Spiewak love the opportunity to support causes they believe in and, of course, GLSEN is one of their favorites. Living in Los Angeles with their dogs, Otis and Rufus, Jim’s work on the CBS show The Big Bang Theory, has earned him two Emmys® and a Golden Globe®. Parsons has also been featured in films such as Garden State and The Muppets. He will next be seen in the upcoming HBO film The Normal Heart with Mark Ruffalo and Julia Roberts and is currently in production on the animated film Home. He has always loved working in the theater and recently appeared on Broadway for the Roundabout Theater in Harvey, and in the stage production of The Normal Heart.
Todd Spiewak has a BFA in Graphic Design from Boston University and has worked extensively in the field designing successful campaigns for clients including American Express, Barnes & Noble, HP, KitchenAid and The New York Times. Recently he and Jim formed their production company, That's Wonderful Productions, and Todd is now actively seeking homes for projects ranging from television series to movies to theater.
Student Advocate of the Year: To Be Announced Soon!
After a nationwide search, GLSEN will present the 2013 Student Advocate of the Year presented by AT&T. This award recognizes a student who has advanced LGBT equality in their school or community, working to ensure that all students are safe and free of bullying, name-calling and harassment.
Emmy®-nominated actress Kerry Washington, star of the hit ABC-TV series Scandal and feature films Django Unchained and Ray, and openly gay LA Galaxy soccer player Robbie Rogers will serve as Honorary Co-chairs for this year’s gala. They will be joined by a host committee that consists of an impressive lineup of supporters, including Betsy Beers (Executive Producer – Scandal; Grey’s Anatomy; Private Practice); Dan Berendsen (Creator/Executive Producer – Baby Daddy; The Nine Lives of Chloe King); Greg Berlanti (Executive Producer – Arrow; Brothers and Sisters, Golden Boy; Political Animals); Linda Bell Blue (Executive Producer, Entertainment Tonight); Matt Bomer (Actor - White Collar, Magic Mike); Kevin Brockman (Executive Vice President, Global Communications, Disney/ABC Television Group); Donald De Line (Film Producer – Pain & Gain; Green Lantern; I Love You, Man); Robert Greenblatt (Chairman, NBC Entertainment); Simon Halls (Partner, Slate PR); Dave Karger (Chief Correspondent, Fandango); Carlos Lopez (Events and Special Projects Manager, The A List); David Phoenix (Interior designer); Shonda Rhimes (Creator/Executive Producer – Scandal; Grey’s Anatomy; Private Practice); and Chip Sullivan (Head of Publicity, DreamWorks Studios).
To learn more about the GLSEN Respect Awards – Los Angeles, visit www.glsen.org/respectla13 or follow GLSEN on Twitter at @GLSEN and the hashtag #RespectLA. For more information about GLSEN Respect Awards sponsorships, advertising, tickets and contributions, contact Rachel Silander at firstname.lastname@example.org or 646.388.6582.
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.