The Emmys proved a big night not just for the winners, but for the causes they support as well.
Winning his third Emmy for his role as Jesse Pinkman in “Breaking Bad,” Aaron Paul took the opportunity to thank his wife Lauren Parsekian, and made special note of the work she has done with the Kind Campaign, an anti-bullying program that she founded in 2009 with friend Molly Thompson.
“…And to my wife, my God, thank you for marrying me,” Paul said. “Thank you for dedicating your life to spread kindness across the world. We all appreciate it. If you guys don’t know what she does, look up ‘Kind Campaign.’ Do yourself and your children a favor: Kind Campaign.”
Paul’s heartfelt shout out generated so much buzz that the campaign’s website crashed almost immediately after the actor named it just after 7 p.m. PT, and stayed down until somewhere between 5 and 6 a.m. Tuesday morning. “They heard exactly what he said and they went to check it out,” said Thompson of the Emmy audience.
Parsekian and Thompson laughed that the campaign’s team was expecting feedback ahead of the Emmys, but was not prepared for the flood of web traffic.
Parsekian told Variety that she wasn’t anticipating the recognition, but was touched. “Everything he said was just from his heart and really in the moment,” she said, adding that Paul isn’t a fan of public speaking, but in her eyes always manages to speak eloquently.
“It was his moment,” she stressed, “and the fact that he thought about Kind Campaign was really special and amazing.”
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The mention has also garnered Kind Campaign a stream of inquiries from parents, principals and counselors about how to bring the campaign to new schools, exposure that the women say is not only a great opportunity for the charity, but also for the kids heading into the new school year.
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation also saw the spotlight when Ryan Murphy took the stage to accept “The Normal Heart’s” win for outstanding television movie. Murphy, in the company of “Normal Heart” writer Larry Kramer, paused to thank the man responsible for the story and gave note to the foundation, which works in 15 countries to combat the spread of pediatric HIV and AIDS through research, advocacy, prevention and treatment programs.
“We’re going to use the rest of our time to ask young people watching to become Larry Kramers, to find a cause you believe in, that you will fight for, that you will die for,” said Murphy in his speech. “Go online. Look up amfAR. Look up the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.”
“We’re so honored to be mentioned by him,” said Trish Devine Karlin, executive vice president of external affairs and business development at the foundation. “One of the things we talk about here is that we really find a sense of complacency around HIV, and to see ‘The Normal Heart’ and new attention drawn to organizations that fight this disease…we were honored and thrilled that the did that for us.”
The foundation told Variety that they have seen a significant increase in web traffic since the mention, along with a 350% increase in Twitter mentions. They’ve also seen their average daily new followers double, an increase that the org says supports their efforts to continue the fight against the disease.
Since the pic premiered on HBO in May, the foundation has made a personal effort to promote the story, proud to lend a hand to works that champion the cause. “Seeing that story told through the film was extremely powerful and extremely painful, but such a good reminder about why we have to be vigilant and that we can’t become complacent,” said Karlin of taking a stand on important issues.