Speaking at the Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards in Los Angeles on Wednesday, ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey talked about the importance of standing up to things that don’t match our values and beliefs.
Dungey made the comments while accepting the Lucy Award for Excellence in Television, which came on the heels of her recent decision to axe the network’s Roseanne re-boot following offensive tweets from its star Roseanne Barr.
“We can’t be afraid to stand up, to speak up, to rise up,” Dungey told the gala audience to loud applause. “When we see things that are happening around us that are counter to our values and our beliefs, our actions must match our words.”
Late last month, Dungey quickly canceled Roseanne‘s second go-round on the network, after Barr fired off a series of controversial tweets, including one comparing former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett to a Planet of the Apes character. (Barr tweeted Wednesday that the movie reference was actually about anti-Semitism).
“We have to act with purpose and determination,” Dungey went on. “We have to be what we want to see in our future generations. The world is not the kindest, but I choose kindness…I’m asking you to lead by example. Let the future generation see how they should behave in the face of cruelty and adversity…as the one and only Michelle Obama memorably said, ‘When they go low, we go high’.”
Also speaking at the gala was Frances McDormand, who presented the “45 years of Advocacy Celebration” segment of the evening. Shimmying across the stage to much laughter holding a bumper sticker printed with the words, “Inclusion rider”, she said, “I have attached this to the back of my iPad, but not to my car yet.”
McDormand also had an inclusive message for all those who identify as “other” or outside of perceived norms.
“‘Other’ is what I have felt like for many of the past 35 years in the industry,” she said. “Although I have managed to build a pretty damn good career on being marginal.”
McDormand said that when she first became a feminist in 1972 at 15 years old, someone had told her the definition of feminism was equal pay for equal work.
“That seemed like a good idea to me,” she said. “I was also told that I could have it all. And lo and behold, I did. But many haven’t, and we are still feminists, which means that there is still not equal pay for equal work, and that is not OK by me.”
To huge cheers from the crowd, she added, “This conversation is decades old, and it is about parity, artistic expression and inclusion. And I have this feeling in my gut that times are changing.”