502 Bad Gateway

502 Bad Gateway


Now that Orange is the New Black has won a prestigious Peabody Award even more people will stand up to applaud Netflix on their original content push. Just recently, the Simon Wiesenthal Center bestowed their highest honor to Netflix’s Ted Sarandos at their 2014 National Tribute Dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Sarandos, the Chief Content Officer for Netflix, was feted for his support of the center and its Museum of Tolerance, as well as for his philanthropy. Ted’s wife, former ambassador Nicole Avant, a noted activist herself, was by her husband’s side the entire night. Rabbi Marvin Hier, the Founder and the Dean of the Wiesenthal Center and an indefatigable advocate for human rights, presided over the evening, which included the most powerful showbiz honchos in town.  The Dinner Chairs were Fox’s Jim Gianopoulos, ABC’s Bob Iger, Dreamworks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg, Universal’s Ron Meyer, Harvey Weinstein and businessman Haim Saban.

The evening struck just the right chord, veering between serious, upbeat and truly poignant.   Arrested Development’s creator Mitch Hurwitz expertly emceed the night. After the powerhouse crowd, which also included director Brett Ratner; producer Mike Medavoy and his activist wife Irena Medavoy; Nicole’s father, legendary Motown dealmaker Clarence Avant; and her brother, producer Alex Avant; was told about the new museum currently being built in Jerusalem, Hurwitz quipped,  “That museum is based on the exact blueprint of the Aaron Spelling mansion. Without the famous Christmas wrapping room of course.”

The evening then honored various activists and heroes with their Medals of Valor.  Katzenberg said of his friend Ted, “Although his name may be Sarandos, he is a mensch.  He is a visionary, his commitment to giving back is in his blood.”  Katzenberg also lauded Nicole for “personally raising millions of dollars for art programs through schools throughout the country.”

Ted then responded, “Tonight is an honor for me that is beyond words.”  He told a story about recently attending the Academy Awards. “We were driving up to the Oscars and I saw dozens of people on the streets protesting the entertainment industry and even had their kids as young as five years old, holding signs that read ‘God Hates Fags.’  For them, we have a show on Netflix called, ‘Orange is the New Black’.  The fear, hate and intolerance that leads to violence and discrimination and genocide is the part of the human condition that must be continuously exposed and I am thankful for the Museum of Tolerance for doing just that and driven to create TV shows and movies that do just that.”

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