Senator Cory Booker Honored by Humane Society

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
Senator Cory Booker

Diane Keaton, Jane Lynch, Noah Cyrus, Elizabeth Banks and others helped honor the senator — depicted as a "vegan god" — at the organization's record breaking L.A. benefit.

Animal activists and allies strutted down a blue carpet — an inspired nod to Earth Day, perhaps — for the Humane Society’s annual L.A. benefit on Saturday night, and the coincidental date was not lost on the crowd gathered at the Paramount Studios backlot.

“It’s great to have one day of the year where we go, ‘Yes, let’s love the earth, let’s respect her,’ and the same thing with animals — the Humane Society advocates for laws that protect them,” said Jane Lynch, who then admitted that attending wasn’t exactly her idea. “I’m here because my vet told me to come,” said the actress who identifies as “an open-minded carnivore.”

Joked Scandal’s Bellamy Young, who told The Hollywood Reporter that she hasn’t eaten meat since the ’80s, “I just heard a Discovery news piece on cannibalism — they were trying to ferret out the nutritional value of the human body,” she said. “And I thought: I don’t need to know this!”

The event, which raised funds for the organization’s Farm Animal Protection Campaign, united celebs both young and old, from icons like Diane Keaton to relative newcomers such as 17-year-old Noah Cyrus, Miley’s kid sister and arguably the night’s biggest animal lover. “I have horses, I have chickens, I used to have a goat, and I have cow, Eddie, who is my best friend,” Cyrus told THR.

But the night also served as a Hollywood lovefest for New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, who was honored with the Humanitarian of the Year Award. A video tribute montage of his A-List admirers featured the likes of Morgan Freeman, Chelsea Handler and Sarah Silverman, who is evidently Booker’s “soulmate in vegetarianism and childhood chronic bed-wetting,” according to the comic.

“I’m blown away by this,” Booker said of all the attention. “I’m the one who should be honoring this organization — they do such great bipartisan work in Washington. They’ve become one of my best partners,” he added, “and I feel blessed by them every day.”

Presenter Elizabeth Banks used her introduction of the senator and “vegan god” (as she called him) as an opportunity to take a not-so-subtle swipe at President Trump: “Unlike other elected officials who might be advised to stay away from their Twitter accounts,” Banks said with a smile, “Senator Booker … has three million Twitter followers who are regularly receiving updates on everything from pet adoption to his favorite vegan Girl Scout Cookies.”

The gala proved to be an evening of unlikely couples: Banks bonded over the gourmet vegan dinner with her seat mate Moby while James Caan threw his arm around Melanie Griffith and they posed for photos together at a nearby table and — once the musical portion of the evening got underway — singer Rachel Platten made the first move and started dancing with Booker, who may be the only politician that looks as comfortable on the dance floor as he is on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Pharrell capped the night with a three-song set of hits, including “Happy” and “Get Lucky.” As luck would have it, the artist — and amateur auctioneer — personally coaxed an extra $100,000 out of the crowd in exchange for the chance to sing with him onstage, helping to bring the grand total to a record-breaking $1.4 million. 

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