Maren Morris made history Saturday night in New York City when she became the first country music artist to receive GLAAD’s excellence in media award.
During the 34th annual GLAAD Media Awards, the Grammy-winning performer was presented with the honor by Cynthia Lee Fontaine and Alyssa Edwards.
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“I felt a little badass taking on Tucker Carlson for calling me a lunatic for standing up to transphobia,” Morris told the crowd while holding her trophy. “Maybe I did feel a little cool. But I don’t want to gloat. I would never insult the recently unemployed.”
The New York Hilton Midtown ballroom erupted in hoots and loud applause that made the “My Church” singer pause and smile.
The LGBTQ+ supporter famously had a war of words with the recently terminated Fox News personality when he dubbed her a “lunatic” and a “fake country music singer” during an interview with Brittany Aldean in August.
The wife of country music singer Jason Aldean had publicly expressed her thoughts against parents who practice gender-affirming care during a social media post saying, “I’d really like to thank my parents for not changing my gender when I went through my tomboy phase. I love this girly life.”
Morris responded to that in a chain of comments on Instagram. “It’s so easy to, like, not be a scumbag human? Sell your clip-ins and zip it, Insurrection Barbie,” Morris wrote.
The skirmish was just one moment in Morris’ ongoing support of the LGBTQ+ community. While continuing her speech at the annual ceremony, Morris urged her “fellow country music artists to understand the power of inclusivity.”
“You open up yourself and your sound to a much larger audience even if you lose some along the way,” she stated. “The crowds at my shows are a sea of diversity, from race, identity to age. It is a loving, safe space for my band, crew, venue staff and most notably, my fans. This community stood up for me and made me feel safe when I felt alone and I’ll never be able to repay them, but I hope I get to spend the rest of my life and career settling up.”
Other distinguished honorees were also celebrated during the dinner gala, held by the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer media advocacy organization.
“What We Do in the Shadows” star Harvey Guillén hosted the night. Jonathan Van Ness also took home GLAAD’s Vito Russo award as the first nonbinary recipient to receive the title.
The influential event showcased empowering speeches as well as a special performance by Idina Menzel, who sang her global debut of “Move” in front of notable presenters and attendees including GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, Bob the Drag Queen, Brooke Eden, James T. Lane, Frankie Grande, Bowen Yang, Joel Kim Booster, Christian Siriano, Trixie Mattel, Tamron Hall, Chris Perfett and Montana state Rep. Zooey Zephyr.
“Fire Island,” “Anything’s Possible,” “Heartstopper” and “We’re Here” took home the evening’s top prizes in film and television. “The Problem With Jon Stewart” received the award for outstanding variety or talk show episode, but Stewart was noticeably absent during the ceremony.
“Jon is a member of the WGA. He would be here otherwise,” GLAAD’s Director of Transgender Representation, Alex Schmider, explained to the audience while accepting the award on his behalf. “GLAAD, of course, stands with Jon and all the WGA writers. Fair pay, fair working conditions and queer representation in writers’ rooms are urgent and necessary issues facing this industry.”
Also standing in solidarity with Hollywood workers was White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre: “Nights like these are the reminder of stories and the importance of treating storytellers with dignity, respect, and the value they deserve. I sincerely hope the writers strike gets resolved and the writers are given a fair deal they deserve.”
The importance of shared mutual respect throughout the various industries was the theme of the night that everyone at the GLAAD Media Awards was addressing.
“I keep smiling because there is so much joy here and love. I think we’ve had to overcome so much to get this joy that comes out,” actor Colman Domingo told Variety on the red carpet earlier in the evening. “It’s like 1,000 disco balls. That’s what it feels like tonight.”
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