“A Victory for Common Sense” – Second Circuit Upholds LGBT Employee Rights

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

In a victory for equality in the workplace, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit this morning held that the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment. This ruling legally affirms the sentiment behind a petition that Viacom and 49 other major companies signed last summer.

“This ruling affirms the strong stand we have taken at Viacom – that there is no room in the workplace for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” said Viacom Senior Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs Rick Baker. “This is a victory for equality, for the LGBT community, for businesses at large, and for common sense.”

The Second Circuit’s conclusion that Altitude Express, a skydiving company, unjustly fired a former instructor when it learned of his sexual orientation echoes a 2017 decision by the Seventh Circuit, which concluded that a community college in Indiana had wrongfully terminated a teacher because she was a lesbian.

Viacom will continue to join Freedom for All Americans, a bipartisan group that the company worked with on its petition, to monitor legal developments around the issue of LGBT rights in the workplace.

Open Your Eyes: MTV’s Elect This Virtual Reality Experience Lets Fans Step Inside the Art of Change

On Nov. 8, 2016, Viacom employees got the chance to open their eyes to the most important issues of this election season—through an incandescent virtual reality (VR) art show at Viacom Headquarters.


One of the VR works presented on Nov. 8 2016 about gender equality. Photo courtesy of MTV Elect This and Gumshoe

MTV’s Elect This campaign promised its audience substance over scandal. It succeeded in highlighting issues that matter most to their millennial audience such as climate change, social justice, national security, immigration, and health care— in a stunning marriage of innovation and artistry.

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MTV Public Affairs Wins Golden Beacon Award for Transgender Awareness Week Campaign

Last week, the Association of Cable Communications (ACC) held their annual Beacon Awards in New York City, honoring excellence in cable communications and public affairs. On a celebratory night of inspiring programming and noteworthy wins, MTV’s Look Different Campaign: Gender Bent won the Public Service Announcement category, while MTV and Logo’s work on Transgender Awareness Week took both the Events/Observances External prize and the Golden Beacon Award.

The Golden Beacon Award win was especially noteworthy, given that it is the ACC’s highest honor, given to an initiative that makes an impact while enhancing cable’s image nationwide.

MTV’s Casey Acierno and MTV and Logo’s Rich Ferraro accepted the Golden Beacon, ascending the stage to speak more on the network’s involvement with Transgender Awareness Week and thank the ACC for the honor.

MTV Public Affairs Senior Manager Casey Acierno and MTV and Logo Senior Director of Communications Rich Ferraro accept the Association of Cable Communications Golden Beacon Award for the networks' efforts around Transgender Awareness Week.

MTV Public Affairs Senior Manager Casey Acierno and MTV and Logo Senior Director of Communications Rich Ferraro accept the Association of Cable Communications Golden Beacon Award for the networks’ efforts around Transgender Awareness Week.

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Viacom’s Message to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal: Don’t Sign Discriminatory Bill

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

As Georgia Governor Nathan Deal considers signing the discriminatory Free Exercise Protection Act into law, Viacom joined other major media companies in delivering him this very clear message: don’t do it.

“Viacom is proud to champion diversity and acceptance, which are core values of our company,” a company spokesperson said in the Hollywood Reporter. “We have enjoyed doing business in Georgia for many years and we urge Governor Deal to continue to resist and reject the patently discriminatory laws being proposed.”

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