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Andy Cohen to receive Vito Russo Award at GLAAD Media Awards

"Andy’s trademark brand of LGBTQ advocacy has resulted in some of the buzziest and entertaining culture changing moments,” GLAAD’s Sarah Kate Ellis said.
Image: Andy Cohen
Andy Cohen on TODAY, on March 19, 2019.Nathan Congleton/NBC / NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Emmy Award-winning television host Andy Cohen will receive the Vito Russo Award at the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards on May 4 in New York City.

The annual award, which is named after GLAAD founder Vito Russo, honors openly LGBTQ media personalities who have promoted further acceptance of their community. Russo, who died in 1990, was a celebrated LGBTQ activist who helped form the Gay Activists Alliance after witnessing the Stonewall Riots in 1969. Russo also wrote a seminal text on homosexuality in U.S. film industry titled "The Celluloid Closet."

"Andy Cohen is a force in the entertainment industry who consistently prioritizes and celebrates LGBTQ stories,” GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “Both onscreen and behind-the-scenes, Andy’s trademark brand of LGBTQ advocacy has resulted in some of the buzziest and entertaining culture changing moments."

Cohen became the first openly gay host of an American late-night talk show with the premiere of Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen" in 2009. In addition to featuring LGBTQ entertainers — including Lena Waithe, Sam Smith and Matt Bomer — on his show, the host has a history of advocating for marriage equality and speaking out against anti-transgender legislation and violence against LGBTQ individuals. In 2017, Cohen directly addressed Chechen leader in a segment, stating "Imprisoning people because of who they love is inhuman."

Cohen also participates in the Spirit Day campaign each year, during which he wears purple and speaks out against bullying on-air.

Off-screen, Cohen has used his position as an executive at Bravo as an opportunity to highlight LGBTQ talent and bring their projects to life. He has produced a slew of unscripted series and specials, including "Project Runway," "Top Chef" and "The Real Housewives" franchise.

Since becoming a father to his son Benjamin earlier this year, Cohen has used his platform to publicly document his experience as gay, single dad.

Sarah Jessica Parker will present Cohen with the Vito Russo Award. Other recipients of the annual award include Samira Wiley, Anderson Cooper, Ricky Martin, Cynthia Nixon, Rosie O’Donnell, Tom Ford, Billy Porter, Thomas Roberts, Suze Orman and Alan Cumming.

As previously announced, Madonna will also be honored at the May event. She will receive the Advocate for Change Award for her work accelerating acceptance of the LGBTQ.