GLAAD Media Awards in New York Canceled Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for GLAAD
GLAAD founder and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis

The decision was made in response to the latest recommendations from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the 31st annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York City have been canceled, the media advocacy organization announced. The event was scheduled to take place on March 19.  

The decision was made following briefings by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus threat in New York earlier this week. 

"Given GLAAD’s long-standing commitment to the safety of our members, sponsors, and guests, the GLAAD Media Awards will no longer take place on March 19th in New York City," Rich Ferraro, chief communications officer and executive producer of the event, said in a statement. "The team at GLAAD has been in communication with the City of New York and is following the latest recommendations from Governor Cuomo."

Continued Ferraro: "We were planning to unveil a historic get-out-the-vote campaign at the event because everything is at stake for LGBTQ Americans this election year, and are hopeful that the program and GLAAD’s ongoing work to fight against anti-LGBTQ discrimination will continue to be supported and funded. Since the event is canceled, our advocacy work will experience a loss of funding and we encourage community members and allies to consider becoming a GLAAD member to ensure this work continues."

Among the honorees, the New York event was set to celebrate the activism of Ryan Murphy and Judith Light. Calling them "two trailblazing beacons of LGBTQ advocacy and inclusion," Ferraro noted that their "game-changing work" will be recognized at a later date.

In his statement, Ferraro advised that GLAAD will be in touch with nominees — of which there are 175 — shortly, with plans for how award categories may be announced. Further, he advised that an update would arrive "in the coming weeks" regarding the event. 

Ferraro also confirmed that Los Angeles' GLAAD Media Awards are no longer taking place on April 16, as previously scheduled. Although, the organization is looking to reschedule at a later date.

"In accordance with guidelines put in place by Gov.Gavin Newsom, the GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles are no longer taking place in April and we are working to reschedule the event to the fall," the statement read. "With the GLAAD Media Awards and some LGBTQ Pride celebrations being canceled or postponed, it is so crucial that our community supports one another during this time. We look forward to hosting an event later this year to celebrate the community, especially as we head into one of the most important elections in this nation’s history."

Ferraro added that GLAAD is still looking forward to honoring the work of both Taylor Swift and Pose writer/director/producer Janet Mock, both of whom were set to receive awards at the ceremony.

"GLAAD is proud to honor the work and advocacy efforts of Janet Mock and Taylor Swift at this year’s Los Angeles ceremony," he said of the postponed event. "They have made incredible strides for LGBTQ acceptance, and we look forward to celebrating their trailblazing work later this year."

The worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus has sickened nearly 170,000 people and left more than 6,500 dead, with thousands of new cases confirmed each day. The death toll in the U.S. has climbed to 64, while infections have passed 3,700. In addition to the GLAAD Media Awards, a number of entertainment industry events have been canceled or postponed due to the viral outbreak, including SXSW, Coachella and the Game Developers Conference.  

March 16, 1:52 p.m. Updated with news that L.A.'s GLAAD Media Awards are no longer taking place on April 16.