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The cast of NBC’s This Is Us was honored by the Rape Foundation at the organization’s annual brunch Sunday, held at the Greenacres estate in Beverly Hills. David Schwimmer, who has worked with the foundation for 16 years, emceed the event benefiting the Rape Treatment Center and Stuart House at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, which provides state-of- the-art care for rape victims and sexually abused children as well as prevention education programs across the country.
Schwimmer praised the honorees in his introduction. “This cast truly elevates this grounded, life-affirming drama revealing that even the tiniest events in our lives impact who we become, and how the connections we share with each other can transcend time, distance and even death,” he said.
Castmembers Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley, Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, Sterling K. Brown and Susan Kelechi Watson were all on hand at the event.
Moore said it was an honor for the cast to be recognized and stressed the importance of the foundation’s work. “For so long the reality of these crimes have been relegated to the unspeakable, and this event continues to shine a light on the storm of violence in our culture and our community that for too long has been shrouded in secrecy.”
Several members of the cast detailed their time visiting the treatment center, including Watson, who said, “The victimization stops when you walk through the doors. It feels safe, it feels protected. It’s a place where victims can feel solace.”
Referencing the unfortunate snafu at this year’s Emmys in which he was cut off during his acceptance speech (he took home best actor in a drama for the show), Brown opened his remarks by joking, “Is there a time limit on this speech?”
He also talked about his time at the center, saying that although what he saw there was difficult, “[those things] need to be seen.” He also stressed the importance of talking about sexual violence.
“Avoidance and secrecy perpetuate the forms of violence and abuse that the Rape Treatment Center and Stuart House deal with everyday,” he explained. “When we look away, it renders [victims] silent.”
The castmates join a list of previous honorees that includes Viola Davis, Judd Apatow and Albert Brooks. Speaking to the press before the event, Ventimiglia said he hopes the show being honored ultimately shines a light back on the foundation. He also gave a call to action to his fellow men. “I think men have a great responsibility, in Hollywood and in general, to show compassion and strength, and I think we need to stand up for people,” he said, adding, “let’s represent ourselves as good leaders and represent ourselves as being good men. I think good men kind of need to come back.”
Elizabeth Olsen, T.R. Knight, Eva LaRue, Joanna Kerns, Diane Warren and Gloria Allred were just a few of the other industry notables in attendance at the benefit, which also included moving speeches by victims that left very few dry eyes in the house.
The event concluded with Will & Grace star Eric McCormack encouraging guests to donate to the foundation, with at least three guests publicly announcing donations of $100,000 each.
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