When “The Vampire Diaries” star Paul Wesley took the stage at the Humane Society of the United States’ 60th anniversary gala, the actor noted his discomfort with having his accolades announced as he shared, “I’m kind of blushing.”
The Humane Generation honoree has used social media to educate his millions of followers about the horrors of factory farming and credited the legions of dedicated “Vampire Diaries” fans with helping him spread the word.
“I know that one of the main reasons that I’m here is because I happen to be on a television series that has a massive youth following,” Wesley said.
He also expressed that his experiences with the fans have led him to belief that the future work of orgs like the HSUS is in good hands.
“I think it’s really important for me to say with confidence that, based on the interactions that I’ve had with ‘Vampire Diaries’ fans all over the world, young people today are comprised of an incredible morally grounded generation. When presented with logic and with facts, they want to do the right thing,” Wesley explained. “So ultimately I think this Humane Generation Award is representative of the younger generation that want to and will take the right steps to create a positive change for the future.”
Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite was also recognized for her documentary “Blackfish.”
Cowperthwaite acknowledged that she had taken her own children to SeaWorld, and thanked viewers and supporters for giving her film a chance anyway.
“Thank you for letting me be someone who took her kids to SeaWorld,” she said. “‘Blackfish’ worked because all of us involved with the film – former SeaWorld trainers, whale capturers, me who took my kids there – all did something we didn’t know we were doing at the time and we weren’t proud of in retrospect.”
James Cromwell and Gov. Jerry Brown were also honored.
In keeping with the org’s mission to protect animal rights, attendees dined on gourmet vegan cuisine and participated in a live auction to raise funds to support the Pets for Life program. Musician Diane Warren kept raising her dog bone-shaped paddle until she scored the winning bid of $31,000 for a one-week stay in a Tuscan villa.
“Scandal” actress Bellamy Young, one of the evening’s presenters, took to Twitter to raise funds and pledged $100 per retweet (she had received over 500 RTs by the end of the night).
Following a performance by singer-songwriter Sia, guests made their way to the after-party where DJ Taryn Manning kept the music going. Wesley’s former “Vampire Diaries” co-star Nathaniel Buzolic caught up with “Pretty Little Liars” actors Ian Harding and Torrey DeVitto while others, including Pacelle, hit the photo booth.
Other guests in attendance included singers Colbie Caillat and Kesha, Billie Dee Williams and his “Dancing with the Stars” partner Emma Slater, Kate Mara, Victoria Summer and “Scandal” actor George Newbern.