GLAAD, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, has just announced a new president after months of a formal executive search, and the Board of Directors has awarded to post to Herndon Graddick. If the name is familiar to you, it should be. Graddick has been GLAAD’s Vice President of Programs and Communications since 2010, and is responsible for many excellent achievements, including “Stand Up For Ellen,” GLAAD’s response to the One Million Moms boycott of J.C. Penney, and GLAAD’s recent Commentator Accountability Project (CAP) which tracks comments from more than three dozen anti-gay pundits like Maggie Gallagher and Tony Perkins. Graddick also is responsible for furthering understanding on LGBT issues, as he did in the Roland Martin incident that began over Super Bowl weekend and the Miss Universe attempts to prohibit a transgender contestant from entering. Graddick also partnered with the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) on the “I AM: Trans People Speak” video series. He takes the reins from acting president Mike Thompson.
That GLAAD would choose an internal candidate after months of a formal external search speaks volumes about Graddick’s abilities and impact on the organization and on the LGBT community. Graddick has helped to hold the organization together through challenging times and helped it emerge into one that is on-point, respected, and impactful.
“GLAAD’s work to share positive stories about LGBT people and hold the media accountable for providing a platform to anti-LGBT activists and their rhetoric is crucial in our movement today,” Graddick told The New Civil Rights Movement, via email. “I look forward to working with our staff, partner organizations, bloggers and LGBT media to continue this culture changing work.”
In a statement, Graddick added:
Right now GLAAD and our partners in the LGBT movement are making a significant difference at a time when a difference needs to be made. I look forward to working with our dedicated staff to create a culture where there is a welcoming and respected space for LGBT Americans. GLAAD’s work with the media to inspire Americans to speak out against anti-LGBT actions and support equality is needed today more than ever.
“Herndon is already a well-respected leader within the LGBT movement, and we believe will be a visionary and strategic leader for GLAAD’s culture-changing work,” Sheri Fults, National Co-Chair of the Board of Directors, said in a statement accompanying the announcement:
Herndon is the current Vice President of Programs and Communications at GLAAD, a position he assumed in 2010. In his role, he has lead GLAAD’s media initiatives and oversees the organization’s National & Local News; Entertainment; People of Color; Religion, Faith & Values; Advertising; and Spanish-Language Media programs. Under his leadership, GLAAD has engaged in numerous highly visible and impactful campaigns including ‘Stand Up For Ellen,’ which prompted the group One Million Moms – a project of the American Family Association – to end their call for J.C. Penney to fire Ellen DeGeneres as its new spokesperson because she is gay. Herndon also oversaw GLAAD’s work on the Commentator Accountability Project – an initiative launched in March to highlight the extreme rhetoric of anti-LGBT activists who currently appear in national news outlets. He is leading efforts with the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) on the “I AM: Trans People Speak” video series as well as with film director Brett Ratner to develop a series of videos with GLAAD featuring high-profile celebrities and public figures speaking out for LGBT equality. Herndon has also put resources behind GLAAD’s work to share stories of LGBT people of color and allies with African American media, sports media, and Spanish-language news outlets, among others.
Prior to his work at GLAAD, Herndon served as the Executive Producer of the Global Observatory, a media and communications effort which aimed to bring public awareness to the climate change crisis. He also served as Supervising Producer at E! Networks and the day-of-air news division director at CURRENT TV, the youth-oriented news and entertainment network created by former Vice President Al Gore. As a producer at CNN, Herndon also contributed to the creation of daily primetime programming such as “Paula Zahn Now,” “Anderson Cooper 360,” and “Live from the Headlines.”
Graddick, who has extensive experience in the media industry, was a producer for CNN and E! Networks, and was a director for Current TV. His GLAAD bio also mentions:
Graddick has also put resources behind GLAAD’s work to share stories of LGBT people of color and allies with African American media, sports media, and Spanish-language news outlets, among other areas.
Graddick previously served as GLAAD’s Deputy Director of Media Programs. Graddick successfully led GLAAD’s efforts to file a complaint with the FCC against the anti-gay Spanish-language talk show “Jose Luis Sin Censura,” and remove anti-gay language from Universal Pictures’ 2011 film trailer for “The Dilemma.” Graddick also oversaw successful efforts to create a partnership with the NBA and the Los Angeles Lakers following the use of an anti-gay slur by Kobe Bryant.
Graddick comes to GLAAD after serving as the Executive Producer of the Global Observatory, a media and communications effort conceived by former President of Costa Rica, Jose Maria Figueres, and Clinton Administration advisor, Aimee Christensen, and which aims to raise public awareness around the climate change crisis.
Recently, Graddick served as a Supervising Producer at E! Networks. Prior to E!, Graddick was the first strategic programming hire for CURRENT TV, the youth-oriented news and entertainment network created by former Vice President Al Gore and entrepreneur Joel Hyatt. At CURRENT, Graddick served as day-of-air news division director.
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