EXCLUSIVE: GLAAD is ramping up its efforts to advocate for diversity in Hollywood and the media with a pair of hires and a promotion in the organization’s Entertainment Advocacy Team, which works with TV networks, movie studios and talent. Journalist Jeremy Blacklow joins as Director of Entertainment Media, Access Hollywood producer Anthony Ramos has been hired as Director of Talent Engagement, and Megan Townsend has been promoted to Director of Entertainment Research & Analysis.
The moves come at a critical time for the LGBTQ community and the advocacy organization, given the current media landscape and political climate with the Donald Trump administration, including most recently its effort to enact a transgender military ban. The organization already has launched new programs this year to respond to anti-LGBTQ policies and engage new audiences in its work.
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“At a time when our culture is growing hostile towards LGBTQ people, the entertainment industry is more important than ever to accelerate acceptance of marginalized communities,” GLAAD’s president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said. “We need to harness the energy that exists in Hollywood and use it to fight back and create a better world for LGBTQ youth.”
GLAAD aims to increase the quality and quantity of positive LGBTQ images on TV and film, as well as in comics, gaming, and music, which Blacklow will spearhead in his new role. Ramos will be tasked with producing content with GLAAD and talent to raise awareness at the annual GLAAD Media Awards and via year-round digital campaigns.
In her elevated role, Townsend, who has authored GLAAD’s annual Studio Responsibility Index and “Where We Are on TV” report, will lead all research and content analysis related to the industry and continue being at the front of industry events like Comic-Con and TCA. She also will expand GLAAD’s reporting on LGBTQ representation in Hollywood to create real-time responses.
Blacklow and Townsend will work with the Programs & Campaigns team under GLAAD head of programs Zeke Stokes. Ramos joins the communications team under chief communications officer Rich Ferraro.
“GLAAD’s team will push the big-budget film industry at a time when the studios have reached an unacceptable low in their representation of LGBTQ people and suffered box office meltdown,” Ellis said. “As gaming and comics become more and more influential, it’s critical that GLAAD have the right experts in place to take the incredible work we have done on television in the last decade and ensure that every platform in the industry is fairly and accurately representing LGBTQ people and issues.”
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