Hugh Hefner Foundation to Honor First Amendment Defenders, Raise Awareness of Threats to Free Speech

LOS ANGELESMarch 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Hugh M. Hefner Foundation is seeking nominations and announcing the independent panel of judges selected for the 2020 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The Hugh M. Hefner Awards are hosted annually to honor a group of individuals for their work to protect and enhance First Amendment freedoms for all Americans, and help educate and raise awareness of modern-day threats to free speech and free press in the U.S.

The nomination application form can be found here. The submission deadline for consideration in the 2020 First Amendment Awards is March 27, 2020.

The Awards were founded by Christie Hefner in 1979 and have honored over 150 individuals in journalism, education, law, book publishing, government and entertainment.

Christie Hefner said, “The First Amendment Awards remind us of the modern-day challenges to our First Amendment rights. Threats still exist, but our constitutional right to free speech and expression remain intact because of the brave individuals who have been honored over the past 40 years. During the Awards, we recognize and celebrate the work of these everyday American heroes – high school students, lawyers, librarians, journalists and educators – who took a bold stand against infringement on their rights or the rights of their fellow Americans to protect our basic American rights.”

The awards ceremony will be held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. in summer 2020. Details about the event will be provided when the winners are announced in spring 2020.

The Hugh M. Hefner Awards Judges
Winners will be selected by a panel of independent judges. The 2020 judges are:

Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr., Partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, and global Co-Chair of the firm’s Litigation Group. Boutrous received the 2019 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award in the Law category for his work on behalf of CNN and Jim Acosta in connection with the restoration of Acosta’s White House press credentials after the White House suspended Acosta’s press access. Boutrous also received the 2020 Freedom of Press Award from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Distinguished Leadership Award by PEN America in 2019 for his leadership in advancing rights and protecting freedom of expression.

Kyle Pope, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review, a magazine for professional journalists that is published by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The Columbia Journalism Review is referred to as “the voice of journalism.” Pope previously served as deputy editor of Conde Nast’s late Portfolio magazine, editor in chief of The New York Observer, and as a reporter, foreign correspondent, and editor during his decade career at The Wall Street Journal.

Allison StangerRussell Leng ’60 Professor of International Politics and Economics at Middlebury College, and Author. Stranger recently authored a timely new book about the history of whistleblowers in the U.S. titled Whistleblowers: Honesty in America from Washington to Trump. Stanger received the 2018 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award in the Education category for her work defending the free exchange of ideas on college campuses after an incident at Middlebury College. Stanger, a liberal professor, helped promote a speaking event on campus featuring a conservative social scientist who was invited by a student group; she was injured during a violent confrontation after the event.

About the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation
The Hugh M. Hefner Foundation was established to work on behalf of individual rights in a democratic society.  The primary focus of the foundation is to support organizations that advocate for and defend civil rights and civil liberties with special emphasis on First Amendment rights and rational sex and drug policies. For a complete list of past winners and judges, please visit:

SOURCE Hugh M. Hefner Foundation

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