'Glee' Cast Performs to Honor Ryan Murphy at Family Equality Council Event
The stars of the Fox dramedy, which has already filmed its final episode, reunited to fete the prolific producer.
Glee and Modern Family were honored by the Family Equality Council for their efforts to highlight diversity, particularly with the inclusion of LGBTQ characters. The non-profit's annual West Coast dinner, hosted by singer Sandra Bernhard, was held Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton.
New Girl actor Max Greenfield presented awards — which Modern Family writer Abraham Higginbotham exclaimed looked like a vagina — to Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy and Modern Family’s co-creator Steve Levitan and producer Jeffrey Richman.
We've heard from so many gay teens and young adults who felt comfortable coming out simply because their parents love Mitch and Cam," said Levitan. "We are very proud to be on the right side of history and to have played even a tiny role in the honorable task of getting some close-minded assholes to shut the f— up."
Richman added that, once it became possible for the LGBTQ community to become parents, he was just too tired.
"While many of you are proud LGBTQ parents, I stayed more old-school," said Richman. "I have beautiful things, I take expensive vacations and my date tonight is Patti Lupone."
Murphy exclaimed he was proud to see how far network TV has come since he first started writing in 1998. He used to receive notes from executives to "remove the gay characters holding hands," and now he has included a same-sex marriage and Dot-Marie Jones' character going through a sex change in episodes leading up to the Glee series finale on Mar. 20.
"A couple of weeks ago, the co-creators of Glee, Brad [Falchuk] and Ian [Brennan] and I, got alone in a room with our other writers on Glee to write the final episode," said Muphy. "We struggled for days with the title, and finally we just settled on the truth, and the series finale is called, 'There Is No One Left to Come Out.' True story."
Murphy added that a lot of the credit goes to "a new breed of executives in town" which he said included industry executives Dana Walden, Joe Earley, Kevin Huvane and Michael Lombardo. He expressed that their bold actions of representing the LGBTQ community onscreen has significantly helped to bring awareness to the issue.
“I grew up in Indiana behind a cornfield in a church, and for me the only single person I knew who was gay was Paul Lynde,” said Murphy. “I think the success of Glee and Modern Family brought gay kids and gay families to millions of people who think they didn’t know those kinds of people, and then suddenly literally in the course of one month they did.”
Murphy’s acceptance speech was followed by a performance from Glee co-stars Lea Michele (Rachel), Darren Criss (Blaine), Chord Overstreet (Sam), Jenna Ushkoweitz (Tina), Becca Tobin (Kitty), Harry Shum (Mike) and Alex Newell (Unique). Newell opened the show with Diana Ross' "I Will Survive" and Destiny’s Child’s "Survivor," and the whole group performed Journey's "Don’t Stop Believin'."
Agent Kevin Huvane and Eileen Davidson (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) each donated $10,000 for a walk-on role in American Horror Story: Hotel. Lady Gaga recently announced she’ll be starring in the new season.
Andrew Rannells presented an award to Honey Maid’s Lauren Jacobsen and Jonathan Mekeel for celebrating diversity in their “This is Wholesome” campaign. Their TV ad features both interracial and same-sex families enjoying Honey Maid products. When the company received criticism for the TV spot, they chose to respond with a second video that turned the negative comments and letters into paper art that spelled out “Love.”
Matt Bomer presented honors to Annise Parker, the first LGBTQ mayor of Houston and recently named the top mayor in the U.S. by the City Mayors Foundation.
Maxine Nightingale and Cheyenne Jackson also performed during the evening. The event raised $618,000 that will go toward securing family equality for LGBT parents and guardians.