March 11, 2020 at 8:07 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
GLAAD nixes NYC media awards amid coronavirus concerns
GLAAD has cancelled its media awards event amid coronavirus concerns.

The annual GLAAD media awards in New York City are the latest casualty amid escalating fears of the coronavirus.

The LGBTQ media watchdog announced in a statement late Wednesday it would cancel the event, initially set for March 19, in accordance with health guidance from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“Given GLAAD’s long-standing commitment to the safety of our members, sponsors, and guests, the GLAAD Media Awards will no longer take place on March 19 in New York City,” said Rich Ferraro, chief communications officer for GLAAD and an executive producer of the GLAAD Media Awards.

Ferraro added GLAAD had anticipated launching a get-out-the-vote campaign at the event “because everything is at stake for LGBTQ Americans this election year,” and is hopeful it can find funding for that work in other ways.

“Since the event is canceled, our advocacy work will experience a loss of funding and we encourage community members and allies to consider becoming a GLAAD member to ensure this work continues,” Ferraro said.

Ryan Murphy, the gay creator behind TV hits such as “Glee” and “American Horror Story,” was set to obtain an honor at the event, as was actress and LGBTQ rights supporter Judith Light. Adam Lambert and Ben Platt were set to perform.

GLAAD also has a separate media awards event set next month in Los Angeles. Ferraro said the LGBTQ group is engaging with local health officials and issue an update on the every “in coming weeks.”

Other LGBTQ groups with events set in the near future said plans remain in place to forward, although these gatherings weren’t scheduled as near in the future.

Among them is the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which is set to hold its annual brunch in D.C. on April 5.

“We are a go as of now,” Victory Fund spokesperson Elliot Imse told the Blade. “We are carefully monitoring each of the regions where our events are happening and remaining proactive – and optimistic! As of now, we plan to hold the National Brunch on schedule.”

The Human Rights Campaign is set to hold a gala April 4 in Houston, but is also making no changes to the program. (UPDATE: The Human Rights Campaign in an announcement Thursday cancelled the Houston event as well as events in Los Angeles and Nashville.)

“As of now, we have not chosen to cancel any upcoming gala dinners,” a Human Rights Campaign spokesperson told the Blade. “Of course, that could change, but as of now, we are proceeding with the events as planned.”

Although the Houston gala is set to continue as planned, the HRC spokesperson said the Human Rights Campaign urges to be mindful of the coronavirus.

“We are following CDC guidelines and asking folks who feel sick to stay home,” the HRC spokesperson said. “We’ll also be reiterating the importance of hygienic practices to attendees both before and during the event itself.”


Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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