Ellen DeGeneres spoke out on her show about the recent murder of a gay teenager, and now, a slew of stars including DeGeneres' girlfriend, Portia de Rossi, are stepping up to take part in a PSA to combat hate crimes. Logo, the gay television network, debuted the 60-second spot earlier today.
“Imagine if wearing makeup and a dress could get you killed,” de Rossi says in the ad. “For 15-year-old Lawrence King, that’s just what happened.”
T.R. Knight, who also appears, says, “If you think gay teens like Lawrence King are safe in our schools, you’re wrong.”
King was shot in the head at his Oxnard, California, junior high school on Feb. 12. Fellow classmate Brandon McInerney, 14, has been charged with the killing. Days before he was murdered, King had apparently asked McInerney to be his valentine.
Also in the PSA are Janet Jackson, André 3000, Taylor Swift, Ashanti, singer Sarah Bareilles and Calpernia Addams, a writer, activist and star of Logo’s reality dating show, Transamerican Love Story.
DeGeneres spoke about the murder on her Feb. 29 show.
Jay Smith, executive director of the Oxnard-area gay rights group Ventura County Rainbow Alliance told me this morning that he hopes DeGeneres will meet with local teens who knew King through the alliance’s support group for gay youth.
Smith said, “It was good to see Ellen draw some attention to Ventura County and the situation that gay and lesbian kids deal with in school.”
Meanwhile, it was announced today that Melissa Crutcher, one of King's fellow classmates, will be honored on Saturday with the Hero Courage Award at the Human Rights Campaign's annual Los Angeles gala for her work organizing a local march in memory of King. Anne Hathaway is also one of the night's honorees.
For a look at the PSA, just click below.