Employees Go Purple for National Spirit Day

Along with GLAAD, HBO employees gathered to help put an end to bullying against LGBTQ youth.

It was a sea of purple, pom-poms, and positivity as HBO employees — dressed in purple shirts with rainbow HBO logos — gathered outside NYC Headquarters on Thursday, October 18 to express their solidarity with the LGBTQ community for Spirit Day. National Spirit Day promotes tolerance and helps end bullying against LGBTQ youth.

GLAAD, along with HBO Proud, an employee resource group that promises a safe haven for LGBTQ employees, and HBO’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team, helped spread awareness of GLAAD’s anti-bullying message: Rainbow bagels were passed out for breakfast, Sesame Street’s Abby Cadabby made a special appearance and hundreds of purple pom-poms got employees feeling spirited.

“We have to give ourselves a round of applause that HBO takes this seriously,” cheered Nikki Bethel, Senior Vice President of Talent Management. “To allow us time away from our work to be out here together.”

Stand Up for LGBTQ Youth

HBO employees share what Spirit Day means to them.

Spirit Day, observed during National Bullying Prevention Month, is spearheaded by the organization GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), which strives to rewrite the script for LGBTQ acceptance through media. Those who observe Spirit Day are encouraged to “go purple” to signify an alliance against bullying and spread awareness.

Dennis Williams, SVP of CSR, introduced guest speaker Eve Konstan, HBO’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel. “All this happens because we have leaders at the top who get and understand and support all that we do,” he said. Konstan, who reminded employees of the current statistics: “Nearly 90% of LGBTQ youth report being bullied at school because of their sexual orientation. Almost half have been cyberbullied and very few are willing to report it out of fear that no one can help.”

She assured, however, there is change rippling through schools across the country: anti-bullying policies, implementation of Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) clubs and groups that provide a safer space for students. Konstan also emphasized the importance of the upcoming midterms and how we can do our part in helping youth who can’t yet vote. “Vote for candidates who will make a difference. And keep voting in every election: whether it’s federal, state or local.”

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Top of page image: Alex Basin, Photo Services, HBO