The dinner, hosted by “Jane the Virgin” star Justin Baldoni, raised nearly $1 million to support the ADL’s mission to fight bigotry, prejudice and anti-Semitism.
As a successful Hollywood filmmaker, Ratner said he was honored to be recognized by an organization that he deeply respects, and which mirrors his own ideals. “It’s amazing what they have accomplished over the years, globally,” he said. Founded in 1913, the ADL publishes educational resources and crafts legislation to respond to bigotry. It has been a leader in hate crime legislation and has implemented its anti-bias training, through A World of Difference Institute, globally.
As a television visionary and media executive, Silverman said he works hard to create shows that feature underdogs and contribute to the fight against prejudice. “In terms of the spirit of the organization, I try to be responsible in my programming, and make shows like ‘The Biggest Loser,’ ‘Ugly Betty’ and ‘Jane the Virgin’ that are completely consistent with the message of the ADL,” he said.
Baldoni, who’s worked with Silverman on the set of “Jane the Virgin,” said he looks up to the show’s executive producer and admires Silverman’s character. “He’s super energetic and positive and he treats everybody with respect,” Baldoni said. “They should sell his energy on the black market in bottles.”
Since his background is split between Judaism and the Baha’i faith, Baldoni added that he had a personal connection to the organization. Several years ago when seven Baha’i leaders were sentenced to 20 years in prison by the Iranian court, the ADL was at the forefront of calling for their release. “To be asked to come and host this thing, for me, is super touching,” he said.
In addition to the emcee and honorees, several Hollywood heavyweights attended the dinner, such as Gary Barber, Jim Berkus, Toby Emmerich, Ryan Kavanaugh and Kevin Tsujihara.
Ratner and Silverman join past honorees including Kavanaugh, Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett. When accepting their awards from the ADL, this year’s heartfelt honorees both touched on their desire to represent their Jewish heritage in their upcoming work in order to educate future generations.
(Pictured: Producer Ben Silverman, Simon Wiesenthal Center Dean and Founder Rabbi Marvin Hier and filmmaker Brett Ratner)