To most of our readers, the highest endorsement we as a magazine have received from anyone in the gay community was when the lead characters on Will & Grace grabbed a copy of Entertainment Weekly to play their favorite catty game, ”Love Her, Hate Him.” Well, with all due respect to that wacky, 50-percent-gay duo, some less-conspicuous congratulations have made us even prouder. Four years after the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation presented us with their first ever Donahue-Thomas Award in recognition of our coverage of gay issues in entertainment, they’ve honored us again.
At an Oct. 27 luncheon at New York City’s W Hotel, we, along with MTV president Judy McGrath, received the Fourth Annual GLAAD Fairness Award, ”honoring those who have taken active, frontline positions in the battle for fair and accurate representation of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender people.” Actress Ally Sheedy was on hand to present the award to EW, while director Joel Schumacher and Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath gave MTV its prize. Says GLAAD executive director Joan M. Garry, ”Each week, 8 million Americans take important cultural cues from EW—cues that are fair, accurate, and inclusive.”
That’s certainly been our goal since EW launched in February 1990. The following year we inaugurated our annual ”Faces of AIDS” tribute, a way to remember members of the entertainment world in a more personal way, using individual photos rather than generalized statistics. We’ve also tracked the influence of Hollywood’s substantial gay and lesbian community, most notably in our 1995 ”The Gay ’90s” cover story and in our exclusive 1998 interview with Ellen DeGeneres after the cancellation of her controversial sitcom. In fact, we believe it would be impossible to cover pop culture without recognizing the importance of gay and lesbian artists and subject matter.
We strongly feel that the same inclusion should extend beyond our pages, and we strive to make EW a positive place to work for all people, regardless of sexual orientation. ”EW’s commitment to fairness goes well beyond its many stories,” Garry concurs. ”Walk the halls at EW and you’ll find an open, welcoming work culture that fosters creativity, inclusion, and fairness. That’s both smart business and the right thing to do.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. And we’re honored that GLAAD said it instead.
JAMES W. SEYMORE JR.