Q: What is it like to be gay at E!, now part of NBCUniversal? What is the general attitude towards LGBT people at E!?
Chuck London: E! is made up of an extremely young and energetic group of fun people from all kinds of backgrounds.
E! is extraordinarily open to LGBT people! At least one openly gay person is part of the top 5 management group.
There is no feeling of intolerance for LGBT at E! At least this is true for the LGB part of the equation. As far as all of society goes, it is my observation that the transgender group still probably faces the most difficulty, even in what would be considered socially “liberal” environments. I am unaware of any transgender people at E!, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there aren’t any on staff.
NBCUniversal has a selection of six “Affinity” groups that I know of, each as an “extra-curricular” activity, and the OUT@NBCUniversal group is a part of it all! I am new to NBCU, but companywide e-mails in reference to all of the affinity groups are common. Every e-mail ends with “As with ALL affinity groups, all employees are welcomed and encouraged to participate.”
Q: Can you share about your career path leading you to your current position as Director of International Production at NBC Universal?
Chuck London: I have been a sound designer in the theater, as well as a Television Producer, for my entire adult life.
Prior to joining Comcast International Media group, which recently became NBCUniversal International, I owned and operated my own boutique production company in New York City, with many Fortune 500 Companies as clients. I also produced The Glamour Magazine Women of the Year Awards for many years and was the first sound designer to achieve equal billing with the other designers for work on a play.
At Comcast International, I began as a freelance Producer in 2002 and traveled back and forth between NYC and Los Angeles. In 2007, I was hired full time as a Supervising Producer for promotion and special projects. Later, I was promoted to Director International Production. In this job I oversee all original production specifically created for the International Networks of E! and Style.
Q: Has your sexual orientation ever been an issue or played a role in your career?
Chuck London: Working in the arts and in television was always a reasonably safe space for gays. This certainly made it easier for me to see myself working in these fields, but I have always been drawn to the arts and entertainment.
Q: How do you think NBCUniversal compares with other entertainment and media companies, in terms of how LGBT issues are addressed?
Chuck London: Since I am so very new with NBCUniversal it would be difficult for me to accurately characterize the company in this area. I can say that E! and STYLE have always seemed to be very accepting of LGBT issues. It is part of the given.
Q: Are you actively involved with the NBCUniversal LGBT organization?
Chuck London: Actually this week there is an internal companywide open house to learn more about all of NBCUniversal Affinity Groups. I will definitely be attending to learn more about active involvement with OUT@NBCUniversal!
Q: Do you have any suggestions for how people who don’t have an LGBT organization at their place of work could go about starting something within their company?
Chuck London: Having never started such an organization, I can only suggest that the best way to begin such a group would be to approach human resources about gaining the company’s support and cooperation.
Also, be aware that some states have safeguards in their labor laws regarding prejudice against LGBT employees while others do not!
Q: Does NBC Universal offer benefits to employees in domestic partners relationships?
Chuck London: Yes.
Q: In your work, is there anything that you do specifically to reach/target the LGBT community?
Chuck London: Not directly as it does not apply to E! or STYLE. However, I have donated my expertise and services to various not-for-profit productions supporting LGBT causes.
I have also worked as sound designer on the original productions of groundbreaking plays such as Larry Kramer’s, The Destiny of Me; Lanford Wilson’s, Fifth of July; William Hoffman’s, As Is, among others.
Q: What is the general attitude towards LGBT people behind the cameras in the entertainment industry?
Chuck London: In general there is wide tolerance for and acceptance of LGBT people behind the cameras in the entertainment industry. However there are societal barriers to full equality and complete acceptance, which still impact some people in the industry.
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