The director has been tapped to receive the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's inaugural Ally Award as part of the watchdog group's 24th annual Media Awards, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
"Out of anybody I've ever worked with, Brett has been the most humble and willing to put his money and actions where his mouth is," GLAAD president Herndon Graddick told THR. "In terms of an ally and what someone can do after an incident that was negative like that, I've never worked with someone who displayed such genuine interest in helping the community. There's no one who deserves this more than Brett does. GLAAD's interest is in bringing allies in to join us in our fight for total equality and he really did that. I now consider him a friend."
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The director will also premiere the GLAAD Coming Out for Equality public service announcement campaign he oversaw at the group's March 16 event. The PSA series features a diverse group of straight celebrities and athletes "coming out of the closet" as supporters of equality and calling for other Americans to speak out. Participants include Charlie Sheen, Jackie Chan, Tamala Jones (Castle), Food Network's Giada De Laurentiis and NCIS' Pauley Perrette, among others, with videos set for release later this month.
“I have long been a supporter of equal rights for everyone," Ratner said. "So, when Herndon and the folks at GLAAD asked me to partner with them on this PSA campaign, I jumped at the opportunity. I have always been an admirer of GLAAD. They do meaningful and effective work in the fight to secure equality for everyone and I am very humbled that they are honoring me with this Ally Award.”
GLAAD plans to present the Ally Award to others in the future, when appropriate. The prize is similar to the special recognition honors that the group has presented in the past. Last year, GLAAD Harvey Weinstein presented a Special Recognition Award to Katy Butler, a teenager who spearheaded a petition to move the MPAA rating of the documentary Bully from R to PG-13.
For Ratner, the award comes nearly six months after Ratner spoke at the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network's Respect Awards, where he spoke first-hand about his controversial remarks and the importance of the group's Think Before You Speak ad campaign, for which he and director Tom Ford also created a PSA.
The GLAAD honor also comes just days after Ratner skewered himself with a nod to his 2012 resignation from the Oscar telecast at the 34th annual Silver Circle Benefit for the Venice Family Clinic, where he presented screenwriter Jeff Nathanson with the group's Humanitarian Award.
Comcast will serve as a leading media partner for the GLAAD PSA campaign, contributing $1.5 million in national airtime on its Xfinity TV cable systems. "Our longstanding dedication to inclusion, respect and equality gives us pride to donate quality air time to promote the core values we share with audiences every day,” said Charisse R. Lillie, vp community investment at Comcast and president of the Comcast Foundation.
The GLAAD Media Awards fund the organization's efforts to bring stories of LGBT people and issues to Americans. Each year, the events raise nearly $3.5 million for the group.
At the New York ceremony, Madonna is also set to present Anderson Cooper with GLAAD's Vito Russo Award, which honors openly gay media professionals who have made a difference in promoting equality. Good Morning America anchors Lara Spencer, Josh Elliott and Sam Champion will host the event. A complete list of nominees can be found here.