Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards

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Honoring First Amendment Defenders and Raising Awareness of Threats to Free Speech and Free Press at the 40th Annual First Amendment Awards

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Christie Hefner and our esteemed judges, Ted Boutrous and Kyle Pope, will host the 40th Anniversary of the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards on October 19, 2020, at 6:00 PM ET (3:00 PM PT). This virtual awards event will recognize eight exceptional individuals who have taken outstanding action to protect and enhance First Amendment rights.

The Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards, a program of the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation, were established by Christie Hefner in 1979. The Award winners, many of whom are unsung heroes, have esteemed careers in journalism, education, book publishing, law, and government, as well as motion pictures, television, and theatre. Over 150 extraordinary individuals have been honored over the years for their defense of free speech and freedom of the press.

Please join us in celebrating the 2020 honorees:

Arts & Entertainment Award: Christina Clusiau & Shaul Schwarz, Documentary Filmmakers, for their successful battle to overcome the US government’s attempts at censoring their film, “Immigration Nation,” and delaying its release until after the November Presidential election.

Education Award: Michael Frazier, student at the University of Kentucky, LGBTQ and First Amendment Rights Activist, for working to eliminate free speech zones on campus and successfully leading the effort to draft and enact the bipartisan Kentucky Campus Free Speech Protection Act.

Journalism Award: Omar Jimenez, Journalist and CNN Correspondent, for representing the power of consummate professionalism during his on-camera arrest while covering the George Floyd protests in Minnesota.

Law Award: David E. McCraw, Deputy General Counsel of The New York Times, for his book Truth in Our Times: Inside the Fight for Press Freedom in the Age of Alternative Facts. McCraw has led the Times fight for freedom of information since 2002. From Chelsea Manning’s leaks to Trump’s tax returns, McCraw is central to the paper’s ability to fulfill the public’s right to know.

Book Publishing Award: Andrea Dennis & Erik Nielson, Authors, for their book Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics, and Guilt in America, a groundbreaking exposé about the alarming use of rap lyrics as criminal evidence to convict and incarcerate young men of color.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Ira Glasser, Former Director of the ACLU, for his fierce defense of freedom of speech and expression during his 23-year tenure as Executive Director of the ACLU. He is widely recognized as building the robust infrastructure that is today’s ACLU. By the time Ira retired, the ACLU had a $30 million endowment, offices in every state, and was more powerful than ever. Additionally, he saw earlier than most the disproportionate racial consequences of the War on Drugs.

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