"THE FIRST AMENDMENT GUARANTEES FREEDOM OF SPEECH
AND FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. AND YOU CANNOT HAVE
A FREE SOCIETY IF YOU DO NOT HAVE BOTH."
-Hugh M. Hefner
THE HUGH M. HEFNER
FIRST AMENDMENT AWARDS
The Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards, a program of the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation, were established by Christie Hefner, former Chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, Inc., in 1979 to honor individuals who have made significant contributions in the vital effort to protect and enhance First Amendment rights for all Americans. Since the inception of the awards, more than 150 individuals, including high school students, lawyers, librarians, journalists, and educators, have been honored.
The award winners, many of whom are unsung heroes, have traditionally come from the areas of journalism, education, book publishing, law, and government, as well as motion pictures, television, and theatre. Winners are selected by a panel of distinguished judges.
The 2020 award recipients were honored on Monday, October 19th during our virtual awards event. You can view the awards in their entirety on YouTube.
Foundation President, Christie Hefner, recently appeared on So To Speak: The Free Speech Podcast hosted by FIRE's Vice President of Communications, Nico Perrino, to discuss this year's winners and the history of the First Amendment Awards.
THE 2020 HONOREES
CHRISTINA CLUSIAU & SHAUL SCHWARZ
Arts & Entertainment
Documentary Filmmakers, for their successful battle to overcome the US government’s attempts at censoring their film, "Immigration Nation," and delaying its release until after the November Presidential election.
ANDREA L. DENNIS & ERIK NIELSON
Authors, for their book Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics, and Guilt in America, a groundbreaking exposé about the alarming use of rap lyrics as criminal evidence to convict and incarcerate young men of color.
Journalist and CNN Correspondent, for representing the power of consummate professionalism during his on-camera arrest while covering the George Floyd protests in Minnesota.
DAVID E. McCRAW
Deputy General Counsel of The New York Times, for his book Truth in Our Times: Inside the Fight for Press Freedom in the Age of Alternative Facts. McCraw has led the Times fight for freedom of information since 2002. From Chelsea Manning’s leaks to Trump’s tax returns, McCraw is central to the paper’s ability to fulfill the public’s right to know.
Student at the University of Kentucky, LGBTQ and First Amendment Rights Activist, for working to eliminate free speech zones on campus and successfully leading the effort to draft and enact the bipartisan Kentucky Campus Free Speech Protection Act.
For his fierce defense of freedom of speech and expression during his 23-year tenure as Executive Director of the ACLU. He is widely recognized as building the robust infrastructure that is today’s ACLU. By the time Ira retired, the ACLU had a $30 million endowment, offices in every state, and was more powerful than ever. Additionally, he saw earlier than most the disproportionate racial consequences of the War on Drugs.
THE 2020 JUDGES
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 is the 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-long career at The Wall Street Journal. In 2017, Pope testified before Congress about threats to the press.