STL Native Andy Cohen to Receive Vito Russo Award at GLAAD Media Awards

GLAAD announced, on Wednesday, that Emmy Award-winning host, producer, and author Andy Cohen is slated to receive the Vito Russo Award at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York City on Saturday, May 4, 2019. The award will be presented by Cohen’s longtime friend, actress and LGBTQ ally Sarah Jessica Parker. They join previously announced honoree Madonna, who will become the first woman ever to receive GLAAD’s Advocate for Change Award.

The 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards honor media for fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of LGBTQ people and issues. For the first time, the New York ceremony will be broadcast on Logo on Sunday, May 12, 2019 at 8pm ET/PT. For more information visit Cast members from FX’s “Pose,” Samantha Bee and CNN journalist Don Lemon will also appear at the New York event.


The Vito Russo Award is presented to an openly LGBTQ media professional who has made a significant difference in accelerating LGBTQ acceptance. The Award is named for Vito Russo, a founder of GLAAD and celebrated ACT UP activist, who pushed open the door for news and entertainment industries to include LGBTQ performers and stories. Previous Vito Russo honorees include Samira Wiley, Anderson Cooper, Ricky Martin, Cynthia Nixon, Rosie O’Donnell, Tom Ford, Billy Porter, Thomas Roberts, Suze Orman, and Alan Cumming, among others.

“Andy Cohen is a force in the entertainment industry who consistently prioritizes and celebrates LGBTQ stories,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Both on-screen and behind-the-scenes, Andy’s trademark brand of LGBTQ advocacy has resulted in some of the buzziest and entertaining culture changing moments.”

Andy Cohen, a St. Louis native, became the first out gay host of an American late-night talk show with the premiere of Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen in 2009. The Emmy-Award winning host and executive producer consistently speaks out on LGBTQ issues on the show including marriage equality, anti-transgender legislation, and hate violence against LGBTQ people, Jewish people, and people of color. He recently directly addressed the leader of Chechnya in an impassioned plea to end the torture and murder of LGBTQ people in Chechnya. Each year, Cohen and Watch What Happens Live participate in the Spirit Day campaign, showing their support for LGBTQ youth by going purple on the show and speaking out against bullying on-air. Cohen and the show frequently highlight the achievements of LGBTQ entertainers including Laverne Cox, Lena Waithe, Matt Bomer, Adam Rippon, Rosie O’Donnell, Billy Porter, Sam Smith and countless others.

In his ten years as an executive at Bravo he was responsible for an aggressive slate of unscripted series and specials that showcase and celebrate diverse LGBTQ people including "Project Runway,” “Top Chef,” “Queer Eye For the Straight Guy,” "The Millionaire Matchmaker,” the “Million Dollar Listing” franchise, “Top Design,” “Make Me a Supermodel,” “Blow Out,” “Kathy Griffin My Life On the D List,” “The Rachel Zoe Project,” “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover,” and “The Real Housewives” franchises. He currently serves as executive producer of “The Real Housewives” franchise and hosts the network’s reunion specials. In Fall of 2015, Cohen launched “Radio Andy,” a personally curated channel on SiriusXM focused on pop culture, celebrities, LGBTQ issues, and relationships. He tackles also LGBTQ issues in his best-selling book imprint Andy Cohen Books and on his ‘AC2: An Intimate Evening with Anderson Cooper & Andy Cohen’ speaking tour.


In 2013, Cohen famously withdrew from hosting the Miss Universe pageant over host-country Russia’s anti-LGBTQ laws and inaction on anti-LGBTQ violence. Cohen and Anderson Cooper also raised more than $240,000 for the OneOrlando Fund following the anti-LGBTQ shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Florida. He most recently announced work as an ambassador in the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative. Earlier this year, Cohen became father to his son Benjamin, and is publicly documenting his journey and experience as a gay, single dad.

Cohen received an Emmy award when season six of “Top Chef” won Outstanding Reality Competition Program at the 2010 primetime Emmy Awards and has been nominated for 18 additional Emmy Awards and multiple GLAAD Media Awards as Executive Producer of “ “Project Runway,” “Top Chef” and “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy.” In 2005, Cohen was awarded a Peabody Award for his role as Executive Producer of the TRIO documentary “The N Word” and another in 2008 as an Executive Producer of “Project Runway.” Cohen ran Original Programming and Development for the pop culture and arts cable channel TRIO, beginning in July 2000. He was responsible for developing and supervising all of TRIO's original productions including the critically acclaimed original documentaries “Gay Republicans,” “Easy Riders/Raging Bulls,” and “Brilliant, But Cancelled.” He spent ten years (1990-2000) as a producer at CBS News, working on “CBS This Morning” and “48 Hours.”

Events will be held in Los Angeles on Thursday, March 28 and continue in New York City on Saturday, May 4. The 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards are presented by Delta Air Lines, Gilead, Hyundai, Ketel One Family-Made Vodka, and Wells Fargo. GLAAD previously announced that Beyoncé and JAY-Z will receive the Vanguard Award and that Sean Hayes will receive the Stephen F. Kolzak Award when the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards kick off in Los Angeles on Thursday, March 28. Ross Mathews will host the Los Angeles event with additional special guests including Gigi Gorgeous, Allison Janney, Nico Santos, Shangela, Jameela Jamil, Dan Reynolds, and the cast of ‘Queer Eye.’

Nominees include Pose, Love Simon, Crazy Rich Asians, Will & Grace, The Favourite, Schitt's Creek, The Handmaid's Tale, Nanette, Janelle Monáe, Hayley Kiyoko, Troye Sivan, American Idol, RuPaul’s Drag Race, She-Ra, Law & Order: SVU, Don Lemon, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Univision, MSNBC, Ebony, GQ, CNN, and The New York Times.

For a full list of nominees:

On socials please follow @GLAAD and #glaadawards

The 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards are supported by Presenting Partners Delta Air Lines, Gilead, Hyundai, Ketel One Family-Made Vodka, and Wells Fargo. GLAAD is also grateful to: Official Partners Bud Light and Google; Titanium Partner AT&T and WEN; Platinum Partners Comcast NBCUniversal-Telemundo, Creative Artists Agency, Disney ABC Television Group, HBO, Hulu, Kaiser Permanente, MetLife, NBA & WNBA, Netflix, Omnicom Group, PRG, Turner; Gold Partners CBS/Showtime, Nielsen, PWC, UM, Univision, and VER; and Silver Partners Allstate, Coca-Cola, Morgan Stanley, and Warner Bros.

Alfonso Francois is Communications Coordinator for GLAAD

Photography via GLAAD