Shonda Rhimes calls out Hollywood on LGBTQ representation
TV’s top showrunner Shonda Rhimes recently called out Hollywood on its terrible way of representing the LGBTQ people during the 48th Gala Vanguard Awards hosted by the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
Rhimes made the declaration even as the Vanguard Awards honored co-CEO of WME-IMG Ari Emanuel and former senior advisor to then-President Barack Obama Valerie Jarrett.
Shonda Rhimes’s call out
Rhimes, who presented the award to Jarrett, reiterated the importance of LGBT representation on TV.
“We all exist in the world. Everyone has the right the see themselves on the screen, and I think it’s really dangerous when that doesn’t happen,” she said.
“There is a tendency to marginalize or stereotype when these types of characters aren’t seen. People deserve realistic portrayals,” she added.
Rhimes is well-known as an LGBT ally by including queer characters on her own shows. In 2014, she was criticized by some viewers of her shows like Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder because of the “gay scenes.”
In response, Rhimes tweeted back: “What gay scenes? There are no gay scenes. There are scenes with people in them.”
Shonda Rhimes and other guests
Aside from Rhimes, other guests in attendance were movie director J.J. Abrams, TV show host Jimmy Kimmel, actor-director Peter Berg, actor Wilson Cruz and WME-IMG co-CEO, Patrick Whitesell.
Kimmel hosted the event, which brought leaders and prominent personalities in the entertainment, corporate, and philanthropic world together to mark their support for the LGBT community.
Upon receiving the award, Jarrett said: “For me, I accept this award on behalf of so many people in the Obama administration who fought and pushed– we know we’re not done and we know we’re in challenging times.”
Meanwhile, Emanuel said: “We have a huge platform based on the movies we make and on the TV shows we make and the things we do.”
“We have the ability to shed light on things or not, and I think it is important for all of us to shed light on everyone’s struggles or the injustices that people face,” he added.
“Our number of straight allies is not just a testament to Ari and Valerie. It’s also a reflection of where we have come as a society,” said Lorri L. Jean, CEO of the Los Angeles LGBT Center,
There was also a live auction of two tickets for a meet-and-greet with Cher in Las Vegas, a trip to Hawaii, golfing in Cabo San Lucas, and two tickets to the US Open in 2018.
The auction raised more than US$80,000 with the proceed to benefit the LGBT Center.
Check out the video below to see Rhimes’ speech at the event: