Category: Activism

Dianna Agron of 'Glee' likes girls -- explain, please?

Dianna Agron This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

Dianna Agron likes girls -- no, loves girls -- and she would like to explain herself, if you have time for an essay.

In Toronto on Saturday, during one of the seemingly never-ending "Glee" live tours, the real person behind Quinn Fabrey decided to go public with her feelings, changing into a shirt that said "Likes Girls" for the troupe's performance of "Born This Way."

Agron's appearance in the shirt — modeled on costumes worn in an episode about facing prejudice and self-down and conveniently available at the tour's merch table — caused gleeks to utter a collective "Huh?"

Was Agron outing herself onstage? Will Quinn and Naya Rivera's Santana be dating next season? Or was she wryly commenting on Jane Lynch's appearance with Bill Maher for a dramatic reading of a salacious sexting exchange from Rep. Anthony Weiner's oeuvre?

The explanation is hardly dishy: Seemingly feeling an extra boost of inspiration from Lady Gaga's "Born This Way," she said she was expressing how much she loves and respects the women in her life and showing how much she supports the LGBT community.

She explained in detail on her Tumblr blog:

[D]uring our second show, Instead of wearing my usual shirt during "Born This Way" I decided to wear one that said "Likes Girls". It should actually have read, "Loves Girls", because I do. The women in my life give me things that the men in my life can’t. And vice-versa. No, I am not a lesbian, yet if I were, I hope that the people in my life could embrace it whole-heartedly. And let me tell you, I can easily spill (quite comfortably) what I admire, respect and think is beautiful about any of the women in my life. Piece of cake!

There's a whole lot more; as Agron put it, she did write "an essay."

"I am not asking for you to agree with what I am saying, but if you are listening, thank you," Agron wrote. "That is all I can ask. And a step further would be to take a moment to (honestly) answer the questions that I have raised."

Deep. So what say you, gleeks — agree or disagree?  

[For the record, 9:51 a.m. June 13: A previous version of this post stated that "Glee Live! In Concert" played Toronto on Friday. The Toronto show was on Saturday.]


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-- Jevon Phillips

Photo: Dianna Agron arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit celebrating the opening of "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty" in New York. Credit: Eric Thayer / Reuters

Millennium Awards: Mark Ruffalo honored for green stance (no, not his Hulk role in 'The Avengers')

Mark Ruffalo, Orlando Bloom, Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick at the Global Green USA Millennium Awards

Going green is the new black, in the eyes of Global Green USA's 15th annual Millennium Awards, which on Saturday honored celebs Mark Ruffalo and the always-Earth-minded Ed Begley Jr. for their planet-first efforts.

Ruffalo was on hand in Santa Monica to receive the Entertainment Industry Environmental Leadership Award for his fight to ban hydrofracking, a controversial method of getting natural gas out of rocks by using chemicals and water (Don't even think about it, "Battlestar Galactica" fans). That'd be the same fight — which included setting up screenings of the film "Gasland" — that reportedly got him added to a terror advisory watch list last year.

Photos: Global Green USA's 15th annual Millennium Awards

"The Avengers" actor — fittingly, he is cast as the brightly hued Hulk — wasn't the only green celeb on hand to commune in the name of nature. Along with Begley, who took home the award for individual environmental leadership, and Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon, who won the leadership award in 2005, famous names out in force to support the cause included model Miranda Kerr and actor hubby Orlando Bloom, Ed O'Neil, presenter Jamie Lee Curtis and Michelle Rodriguez.

Global Green USA, founded in 1994 as the U.S. extension of Green Cross International, a nonprofit created by former Russian President Mikhail S. Gorbachev in 1993, advocates for climate change solutions in areas including energy conservation, CO2 emission reduction, creation of green jobs and the securing of a more sustainable future.


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— Jevon Phillips

Photo: Mark Ruffalo, left, Orlando Bloom, Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick at Global Green USA's 15th annual Millennium Awards in Santa Monica on June 4. Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images.

Jane Lynch, Ellen DeGeneres and more sign letter to Obama to kick off same-sex marriage campaign

Jane Lynch and Lara Embry sign same-sex marriage letter to Obama This post has been updated. See the note below for details.

Celebs and VIPs including Jane Lynch, Anne Hathaway and Ellen DeGeneres kicked off the "Say I Do" campaign Monday with a letter to President Obama asking him for clarity on the topic of same-sex marriage and urging him to support an end to "exclusion from marriage."

The campaign will continue until Obama expresses his support, according to Freedom to Marry, the group behind the effort.

Other signers from the entertainment ranks include actors Eric McCormack, Martin Sheen, Lily Tomlin, Jane Wagner and Portia DeGeneres, musicians Melissa Etheridge, Mya and Rufus Wainwright, playwright Tony Kushner, and studio honchos Bob Wright, with wife Susan, and David Geffen, The Times has learned exclusively.

Tech VIPs signing their names along with those of civil rights leaders and other activists include Twitter creator Jack Dorsey, Chris Hughes of Facebook, Sean Parker of Napster and Mark Pincus of Zynga, along with athletes Brendon Ayanbadejo and Scott Fujita of the NFL.

"My wife and I were married in May of 2010, and I can say without a doubt that marriage matters," Lynch said in connection with the letter, which will be delivered to the White House by same-sex couples and families this spring.

"As President Obama continues his journey toward recognizing our right to equal taxation, protection and dignity under the law, I encourage him to listen to gay and lesbian couples and families so he can better understand how marriage equality affects us all."

Tony Kushner signs same-sex marriage letter to Obama Lynch and Lara Embry got hitched in Massachusetts, one of five states -- plus the District of Columbia -- where same-sex couples can marry. Ellen DeGeneres married Portia de Rossi locally in 2008, during the window when same-sex marriage was legal in California. De Rossi has since changed her name to Portia DeGeneres.

Kushner and editor-writer Mark Harris, another signatory, had a commitment ceremony in New York in 2003 and planned to be wed in California in 2008, but ultimately tied the knot that year in Massachusetts. Tomlin is not married to Wagner, her partner since 1971, but said in February that although it's not her thing, "I certainly want anybody in the gay community to marry if they wish to."

"In law, in love, in life, marriage says 'we are family' in a way that nothing else does," the letter reads. "Marriage is the coming together of two lives, marked by a public promise of love and responsibility in front of friends and family. And marriage brings not only public respect and personal significance, but also a safety net of legal protections, rights, and responsibilities for which there is no substitute."

Portia and Ellen DeGeneres sign same-sex marriage letter to Obama A Pew Research Institute poll released the first week of March shows, among those expressing an opinion, about equal numbers for and against same-sex marriage, a significant change from 2-to-1 opposition a decade ago. In the West and Northeast, a majority of people give it the thumbs-up, the poll said.

In addition to the letter, the "Say I Do" campaign will spotlight stories of same-sex couples and their family members across a variety of media, organizers said.

Updated at 10:40 a.m., March 14: This post originally neglected to mention the District of Columbia as a spot in the U.S. where same-sex marriage is licensed. Thanks to commenter @Fabrisse for the reminder.


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Melissa Etheridge has a new girlfriend, Linda Wallem; Tammy Etheridge isn't surprised

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Upper photo: Jane Lynch and Lara Embry. Credit: Craig Barritt / Getty Images

Middle photo: Tony Kushner. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Lower photo: Portia and Ellen DeGeneres, lower left. Credit: Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times

Laurie David hosts an intimate dinner party with the 'Think Pink, Live Green' agenda

Laurie David and friends Hollywood heavyweights and environmental power players gathered for an intimate dinner party Saturday night at the home of -- who else -- Laurie David, a woman who’s been firmly planted at the intersection of celebrity activism and the healthy living movement for years.

Typically David, who co-produced "An Inconvenient Truth," mobilizes around issues of global warming. Saturday she spoke out about the warming of something else: dinner.

Specifically: how eating healthfully and organically can help prevent breast cancer.

"Every single issue I care about crosses the dinner plate” said David, who in November published "The Family Dinner," a collection of essays and recipes.

"If we can all get back to the table again and start eating healthy, we'll be a much more healthy society."

Toward that end, the Pacific Palisades dinner party was in honor of Dr. Marisa Weiss, president of breastcancer.org, which just published a booklet of new research on prevention: "Think Pink, Live Green: A Step-By Step Guide to Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer."

Continue reading »

Billionaire's donation brings 'dead' celebs back to life on social media

Turns out we were dead wrong asking for guesses on how long it would take for the 18 Digital Death celebrities to pool their cash to raise $1 million.

We should've asked people to estimate how long it would take for a billionaire to pick up the tab, as pharmaceutical exec Stewart Rahr did Monday afternoon, putting fans and the participating celebs out of their social-media-starved misery to benefit Alicia Keys' Keep a Child Alive foundation, which helps children and their families affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa and India. 

"So stoked to be back on twitter!" Ryan Seacrest said on Twitter around 2:40 PST. "Special shout out to Stewie Rah Rah for his generous donation."

The total had been around $300,000 at 9:30 a.m. PST, after more than five days of the campaign by 18 celebs who taped their "last tweet and testament" and posed for pictures in coffins.

Rahr owns Kinray, the largest wholesale pharmaceutical distributor in the world.

In addition to Keys and Seacrest, Usher, Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Hudson, Lenny Kravitz, Daphne Guinness, Swizz Beats, Serena Williams, Kimberly Cole, David LaChappelle, Justin Timberlake, Jay Sean, Janelle Monae, Elijah Wood and pop group the Buried Life participated in the social-media blackout.

As of 3 p.m. PST, Gaga was still dead to the Twitter world, however, with the most recent missive on her account -- a plea for donations -- sent Thursday, the day after the campaign started.


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As celebs stay 'dead,' Digital Death campaign cuts minimum pledge

Ryan Seacrest, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga still dead -- do you know why? [poll]

-- Christie D'Zurilla

 Photo: Alicia Keys' Twitter page has been brought back to life. Credit: Buylife.org

George Clooney lobbies for attention to situation in Sudan [video]


George Clooney After a recent visit to Sudan, George Clooney has released a video to raise awareness of the situation in Africa's largest nation in terms of area, in the hopes of heading off a civil war.

"We were late to the Congo. We were late to Rwanda. We were late to Darfur," Clooney says in the video, produced by the Enough Foundation and the actor's Not On Our Watch organization. "We felt like this was a chance to be able to finally stop a war before it starts."

Clooney seeks signatures on a Sudan Now petition that calls for "President Obama to do everything he can to stop a war before it starts."

For his human-rights work, Clooney won the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award at the 2010 Emmy Awards in July. He co-founded Not On Our Watch with actors Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Don Cheadle and Brad Pitt, producer Jerry Weintraub and human-rights lawyer David Pressman, who traveled with Clooney to Sudan in 2006 and is currently the U.S. National Security Council's director for war crimes atrocities and civilian protection.

Continue reading »

Ryan Seacrest, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga still dead -- do you know why? [poll]

Ryan Seacrest at the Jingle BallRyan Seacrest Digital Death Celebrities who staged their own digital deaths last Wednesday are still "dead" on Twitter and Facebook, with a little less than $300,000 raised at 9:30 a.m. PST Monday toward their $1-million goal -- the magic number that will bring them back to social-media life.

A commenter noted the campaign that celebs such as Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Seacrest, Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Usher and more are participating in is not just about the money, but also about awareness of the issue that has them sworn off social media.

So -- the money part's not there yet, but is the awareness coming along? No Googling before voting in the poll! And if you vote "yes," please tell us in comments what you believe the issue to be. Check out previous posts linked below for more info on the effort.


Danny Bonaduce: Celebs' 'emotional blackmail' for charity

As celebs stay 'dead,' Digital Death campaign cuts minimum pledge

Lady Gaga, Ryan Seacrest and more swearing off social media for charity

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photos: Ryan Seacrest, left, did not tweet from KIIS-FM's Jingle Ball 2010 at Nokia Theatre in L.A. on Sunday. At right, the picture of his "digital death." Credits: Angela Weiss / Getty Images, left; BuyLife.org, right.


As celebs stay 'dead,' Digital Death campaign cuts minimum pledge

Gaga-dead-on-twitter Lady Gaga, you've been marked down.

With celebrities still "dead" on social media three days into a charitable campaign some thought would be a quick hit for a million bucks, Keep a Child Alive has cut its minimum Digital Death donation in half, to $5.

Wednesday and Thursday, $10 was the least a supporter could pledge to bring the likes of Usher, Ryan Seacrest, Kim Kardashian, Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Hudson and Serena Williams back to Twitter and Facebook.

Even with the cut, as of 2 p.m. PST Friday, Alicia Keys' campaign was still short about $800,000 of the million bucks being sought in the interest of helping AIDS victims in Africa and India -- and that's after being stalled in the high $100K range Thursday.

Danny Bonaduce spoke out Wednesday, calling the campaign "emotional blackmail," even though he deemed the cause a good one.

Any bets on how long it'll be till the celebs participating all pool their cash and split the difference, so they can get back to conducting business on social media?


Danny Bonaduce: ‘Emotional blackmail’ for World AIDS Day

Lady Gaga, Ryan Seacrest and more swearing off social media for charity

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: Lady Gaga's Twitter stream had only donation requests as updates Dec. 3. Credit: Twitter.com

Bristol Palin, the Situation have a frank chat about sex


We didn't know we would have paid cash money to see the Situation whip out condoms in front of Bristol Palin — until we got to see it free.


Promoting the Pause Before You Play campaign, the "Dancing With the Stars" costars illustrate there's more than one way to prevent teen pregnancy, with Palin falling on the side of abstinence and Mike Sorrentino enthusiastically talking about practicing safe sex.

Practicing it a lot.

However, "I totally respect abstinence," the Situation informs B Palin. "I mean, it actually has the word abs in  it, and I'm the Situation. I love that."

The treat comes courtesy of the Candie's Foundation, which aims to educate young people about the negative effects of teen pregnancy, including a 50-50 fail rate when it comes to graduating high school and a negligible chance of the teen mom marrying her baby's dad.

Watch it and let us know what you think.

— Christie D'Zurilla


Common is prepared to teach kids a thing or two

Common for Get Schooled

Aside from dropping knowledge as a rapper, Common is prepared to lead the class.

The actor and musician got in touch with the Ministry on Friday to talk about his involvement with Get Schooled, a youth summit that aims to curb high-school dropout rates and support higher education.

Common spent two years in business school at Florida A&M -- and said he could see himself behind the lectern.

"I left school because I got the opportunity to do recording, but I probably would've become a teacher," he said. "They say you can't handle the kids every day, but I don't mind."

Especially not Friday, when he and MTV News correspondent Sway surprised 2,600 students at Los Angeles' Ulysses S. Grant High School.

"I was really excited to do it; they stand for educating the youth," he said of Get Schooled. The "Just Wright" star maintains his schooling was beneficial beyond the classroom.

"High school and the college experience is crucial for you socially. I remember taking my profession classes at [A&M]. We had to wear suits, learned how to shake hands and look people in the eye.... That's beneficial in any situation in life."

Common  will next appear in the AMC pilot "Hell on Wheels," about the building of the American railroad, and is working on his next album, "The Dreamer, the Believer," with longtime collaborator No I.D.


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-- Matt Donnelly

Photo: Common appears at the Get Schooled Youth Rally in Los Angeles. Credit: Jesse Grant / Getty Images



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