The Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen host and former Bravo executive will be presented with the Vito Russo Award by LGBTQIA+ ally and icon Sarah Jessica Parker. The Vito Russo Award is presented to an openly LGBTQ media professional who has made a significant difference in accelerating LGBTQ acceptance. The award is named after Vito Russo, a founder of GLAAD and celebrated ACT UP activist who pushed open the door for news and entertainment industries to include LGBTQ performers and stories. Cohen will join a list of past honorees including Samira Wiley, Anderson Cooper, Ricky Martin, Cynthia Nixon, Rosie O’Donnell, Tom Ford, Billy Porter, Alan Cumming and others.
“Andy Cohen is a force in the entertainment industry who consistently prioritizes and celebrates LGBTQ stories,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Both on-screen and behind-the-scenes, Andy’s trademark brand of LGBTQ advocacy has resulted in some of the buzziest and entertaining culture changing moments.”
In 2009, Cohen became the first out gay host of an American late-night talk show with Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. The show has put the spotlight on numerous LGBTQIA+ entertainers including Laverne Cox, Lena Waithe, Matt Bomer and Adam Rippon. He has spoken about LGBTQ issues on the show including marriage equality, anti-transgender legislation, and hate violence against LGBTQ people, Jewish people, and people of color.
During his time as a Bravo exec, he has helped launch numerous series including Project Runway, Top Chef, the original Queer Eye For the Straight Guy and the reality franchise juggernaut The Real Housewives franchises, for which serves as executive producer. In 2013, Cohen famously withdrew from hosting the Miss Universe pageant over host-country Russia’s anti-LGBTQ laws and inaction on anti-LGBTQ violence.
Cohen has been nominated for numerous Emmys and GLAAD Awards and won an Emmy for Top Chef. In 2005, Cohen was awarded a Peabody Award for his role as Executive Producer of the TRIO documentary The N Word and another in 2008 as an Executive Producer of Project Runway.
The New York edition of the GLAAD Media Awards, which is presented by Delta Air Lines, Gilead, Hyundai, Ketel One Family-Made Vodka, and Wells Fargo will also honor the legendary Madonna with the Advocate for Change Award. It will also feature cast members from FX’s Pose, Samantha Bee and Don Lemon. The New York ceremony coincides with the Los Angeles which will take place March 28. The LA ceremony will honor pop culture icons Beyonce and Jay-Z as well as Will & Grace star Sean Hayes.
For the first time, the New York ceremony will be broadcast on Logo on May 12.