On Saturday, GLAAD named Herndon Graddick as their new President. The immediate reaction - even from "grumpy" reporters - was that Graddick is an "inspired" choice, having been a major part of the turnaround of the flagging organization in the past several months, including developing their new Commentator Accountability Project. Graddick has a news media rather than a political background.
In a press release, Graddick said:
Right now GLAAD and our partners in the LGBT movement are making a significant difference at a time when a difference needs to be made. I look forward to working with our dedicated staff to create a culture where there is a welcoming and respected space for LGBT Americans. GLAAD's work with the media to inspire Americans to speak out against anti-LGBT actions and support equality is needed today more than ever.
Graddick will make his first public appearance at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday, April 21, 2012. You can also follow him on Twitter at @hgraddick.
GLAAD also announced that 19 year old Josh Hutcherson (The Kids Are All Right, The Hunger Games) will receive the Vanguard Award for his advocacy work for equality - including co-founding the LGBT ally organization Straight But Not Narrow (SBNN).
Author and Dancing with the Stars star Chaz Bono is being honored with the the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, named for the late gay casting director who fought AIDS-phobia and homophobia in the entertainment industry.
Ellen DeGeneres will open the event with Brett Ratner speaking about his work with GLAAD. Grammy Award-winning musician and LGBT ally Jason Mraz will perform. For a complete list of nominees and ticket information, click here.
Here's Graddick's bio from GLAAD:
Herndon is the current Vice President of Programs and Communications at GLAAD, a position he assumed in 2010. In his role, he has lead GLAAD's media initiatives and oversees the organization's National & Local News; Entertainment; People of Color; Religion, Faith & Values; Advertising; and Spanish-Language Media programs. Under his leadership, GLAAD has engaged in numerous highly visible and impactful campaigns including 'Stand Up For Ellen,' which prompted the group One Million Moms - a project of the American Family Association - to end their call for J.C. Penney to fire Ellen DeGeneres as its new spokesperson because she is gay. Herndon also oversaw GLAAD's work on the Commentator Accountability Project - an initiative launched in March to highlight the extreme rhetoric of anti-LGBT activists who currently appear in national news outlets. He is leading efforts with the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) on the "I AM: Trans People Speak" video series as well as with film director Brett Ratner to develop a series of videos with GLAAD featuring high-profile celebrities and public figures speaking out for LGBT equality. Herndon has also put resources behind GLAAD's work to share stories of LGBT people of color and allies with African American media, sports media, and Spanish-language news outlets, among others.
Prior to his work at GLAAD, Herndon served as the Executive Producer of the Global Observatory, a media and communications effort which aimed to bring public awareness to the climate change crisis. He also served as Supervising Producer at E! Networks and the day-of-air news division director at CURRENT TV, the youth-oriented news and entertainment network created by former Vice President Al Gore. As a producer at CNN, Herndon also contributed to the creation of daily primetime programming such as "Paula Zahn Now," "Anderson Cooper 360," and "Live from the Headlines."
GLAAD also announced that they have added the National Organization for Marriage and Pat Robertson to their new Commentator Accountability Project. The project is aimed at educating media producers, talent and bookers to about some of the antigay extremists upon whom they confer credibility by giving them access to the airways as legitimate commentators on "social issues" - meaning LGBT lives.
Here's GLAAD's press release on NOM and Robertson:
GLAAD ADDS NOM, PAT ROBERTSON TO COMMENTATOR ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT
National Organization for Marriage Becomes First Organization to be Profiled in CAP Following Explosive Revelations about Racially Divisive Tactics
New York, NY, March 30, 2012 - GLAAD, the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today announced the addition of the National Organization for Marriage and televangelist Pat Robertson to its Commentator Accountability Project (CAP). The project aims to educate the media about the extreme rhetoric of many of those who are often interviewed or quoted in opposition to LGBT people and the issues that affect their lives.
NOM's profile can be viewed here: http://www.glaad.org/cap/nom
Pat Robertson's profile can be viewed here: http://www.glaad.org/cap/pat-robertson
To view online resources detailing anti-LGBT rhetoric that these activists have used, visit: http://glaad.org/cap and follow #glaadcap on Twitter.
NOM was already the group with the highest number of representatives in GLAAD's Commentator Accountability Project (#glaadCAP). Five associated figures (Brian Brown, Maggie Gallagher, Christopher Plante, Jennifer Roback Morse, Robert George) are among the anti-LGBT activists profiled.
Pat Robertson this week said on his '700 Club' television show that being gay is a "compulsion" that is "somehow related to demonic possession." Robertson has in the past said that gay people are seeking to "destroy marriage and some of the other things we have in our society" and said that the Walt Disney Company was inviting "some serious hurricanes" to Orlando by hosting a pro-LGBT event.
"Both NOM and Pat Robertson this week further exposed the depths to which they are willing to go to turn Americans against their LGBT friends, family, co-workers and neighbors," said GLAAD spokesperson Herndon Graddick. "If the media is going to include the voices of NOM or Robertson in any story about LGBT people, it has the responsibility to inform its audience about who these people truly are, and the insidious tactics they employ to derail equality for every American."
This week the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released internal documents earlier this week from the National Organization forMarriage. The NOM documents revealed that the anti-gay organization was planning to attack equality by attempting to create racial divides. View NOM's documents. NOM's documents detail the anti-gay organization's active interest in "fanning the hostility" (p.12) between the LGBT community and the Black and Latino communities. After the documents were released, former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond called NOM's tactics "reprehensible."
View the Commentator Accountability Project here: http://glaad.org/cap
Follow the conversation on Twitter: #glaadcap