USA NETWORK LAUNCHES CHARACTERS UNITE MONTH TO COMBAT HATE, INTOLERANCE AND DISCRIMINATION
Campaign Features Original Programming, Including Episodes of Hit Series SUITS and NECESSARY ROUGHNESS and Documentary on NFL Superstars Larry Fitzgerald, Jameel McClain, Troy Polamalu and Justin Tuck Fighting Bigotry
USA Will Present a Special Commercial-Free Presentation of Academy Award-Winning “Schindler’s List,” as Part of Quarterly Characters Unite Film Series
New PSA and Social Media Campaign, Along with Cross-Country Bus Tour, to Encourage Americans to Share the Forms of Prejudice and Discrimination They Won’t Stand For
NEW YORK – Today, USA Network, along with a diverse coalition of partners, kicks off the third Characters Unite Month with a range of multiplatform initiatives that aim to shine a light on the intolerance and discrimination that exist today; encourage candor and dialogue around tough issues like racism, gender inequality, homophobia and bullying; and inspire people to say “I won’t stand for …” it anymore.
"Characters Unite Month is growing exponentially this year because there is still an immense need in this country for greater tolerance, respect and acceptance," said Toby Graff, USA's senior vice president, Public Affairs. "We're extremely proud to increase awareness and inspire action to address all forms of discrimination, whether it's based on a person's race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or ability."
USA is working with partners including the NFL, leading Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs), and more than 20 leading nonprofit organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, American Association of People with Disabilities, National Council of La Raza, NAACP, GLSEN, Human Rights Campaign, National Council of Women’s Organizations and others.
Highlights of Characters Unite Month include:
"I Won’t Stand For…" Campaign
- Public Service Announcements (PSAs): A new PSA campaign that features diverse characters –including USA Network stars Matt Bomer of WHITE COLLAR, Peter Gallagher of COVERT AFFAIRS, Dulé Hill of PSYCH, and Sarah Rafferty and Gina Torres of SUITS – engaging in a conversation about the need to no longer stand idly by in the face of hate, bullying and discrimination. These and other celebrities and athletes will also share what they “won’t stand for” in short spots that will air throughout the month.
- On-the-Ground Activities: Kicking off Super Bowl weekend, the “I Won’t Stand For…” tour will make stops in New Orleans, Denver, Nashville, Atlanta, Cleveland and Chicago, where PSYCH’s Dulé Hill will be on hand. In addition, ”I Won’t Stand For” activities will be part of The Henry Ford Museum’s National Day of Courage in celebration of Rosa Parks’ 100th birthday, in Dearborn, MI.
- Digital Campaign: A newly created Facebook App and hashtag #IWontStandFor will allow people across the country to share what they won’t stand for. Through the app, people can customize a photo and become part of an interactive gallery on Facebook and on charactersunite.com.
At each stop, people can create their own “I Won’t Stand For…” t-shirts, photos and videos. “I Won’t Stand For…” t-shirts can now also be purchased through the NBCUniversal Experience Store, with a portion of proceeds benefitting the Characters Unite nonprofit partners.
Additionally, dozens of people – actors, athletes, students, elected officials, advocates and everyday Americans – will share what they won’t stand for and why in short videos featured on charactersunite.com, the Characters Unite YouTube channel, and through social media sites.
charactersunite.com will also feature a live, running tally of the number of people participating.
“NFL Characters Unite” Documentary
On Friday, February 8 at 7/6c, USA will premiere the 2nd annual “NFL Characters Unite” documentary, in partnership with the National Football League and narrated by NBC Sports’ Cris Collinsworth. This year, the documentary shares the journeys of Arizona Cardinals Pro Bowl MVP wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain, Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu and New York Giants Pro Bowl defensive end Justin Tuck, who describe how they overcame prejudice and discrimination. Each player also talks about helping a young person facing similar adversity.
The documentary, created by The Hochberg Ebersol Company and executive produced by company co-founders Charlie Ebersol and Justin W. Hochberg, was produced by Paul Pawlowski and P3 Entertainment and directed by Ezra Edelman (HBO’s “Magic and Bird: A Courtship of Rivals”).
USA Original Series
USA is incorporating Characters Unite-themed storylines into episodes of its hit series, including:
- NECESSARY ROUGHNESS (Feb. 13 and 20, 10/9c) – a star member of the New York Hawks reveals he is gay and faces intense scrutiny from his coaches, teammates and the media.
- SUITS (Feb. 7 and 14, 10/9c) – Pearson Hardman fights a gender discrimination class action suit and unearths prejudices that impact women in the workplace.
The episodes will be followed by PSAs directing viewers to charactersunite.com for more information and resources.
Quarterly Film Series
On February 23 at 8/7c, in its basic cable premiere, USA will air a special, commercial-free presentation of “Schindler’s List,” a film which tells an extraordinary true story of courage and faith that continues to inspire, as part of the Characters Unite quarterly film series.
Characters Unite Awards
USA and its Multichannel Video Programming Distributor (MVPD) partners will launch the Characters Unite Awards to honor extraordinary individuals who have made significant efforts to champion civil and human rights in their communities. The program kicks off with an on-air spot featuring SUITS’ Patrick J. Adams calling for nominations. Winners will be featured on-air and online and will receive a $5,000 grant to continue their work.
Please visit http://www.charactersunite.com/ for more information on the initiative and what you can do to make a difference.
Characters Unite Partners
USA’s nonprofit partners in the year-round Characters Unite public service campaign include: American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD); American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Human Rights First (HRF), Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Association of Counties (NACo), National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), National Council of La Raza (NCLR), National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO), National Education Association (NEA), National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and General Board of Church & Society, United Methodist Church.
The #1 network in all of basic cable for seven consecutive years, USA Network is seen in over 102 million U.S. homes. USA is a leader in scripted programming with a powerful stable of originals, spectacular live television and is home to the best in blockbuster theatrical films, a broad portfolio of acquired series and entertainment events. Viewers come to USA to find television’s best in critically-acclaimed and award-winning original programming, such as BURN NOTICE, ROYAL PAINS, WHITE COLLAR, COVERT AFFAIRS, PSYCH, SUITS, NECESSARY ROUGHNESS and WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW, as well as the highest-rated acquired originals, including HOUSE, NCIS, LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT and CSI. A trailblazer in digital innovation and storytelling, USA is defining, driving and setting the industry standard for Social TV. USA is a program service of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal. The award-winning website is located at www.usanetwork.com. Characters Welcome.