By Oliver Carnay

The Los Angeles-based nonprofit that uplifts marginalized creators in the entertainment industry by providing career support and curating the exhibition and preservation of queer, LGBTQ+, and underrepresented stories — announced it will present Karine Jean-Pierre with their inaugural Outfest Achievement Award for Press and Media. The award will be presented during the Closing Night of the 41st Outfest Los Angeles Summer Festival presented by Genesis Motor America and Warner Bros. Discovery. This inaugural Achievement Award for Press and Media is the organization’s highest honor and celebrates the representation of the LGBTQ+ community in the media. 

“Outfest is thrilled to recognize the continued contributions of Karine Jean-Pierre for her barrier breaking and historic achievement in Press and Media,” said Nii-Quartelai Quartey, Outfest Board Co-President. “Throughout her career, the Black and LGBTQ+ community has been reminded of what is possible. Our fellow Americans have been reminded of our humanity and inherent dignity. Our Outfest Press Fellows have been inspired.” 

The award comes as Outfest makes new investments in journalism for the first time with the Outfest Inclusive Press Initiative, the first ever press initiative explicitly for LGBTQ+ entertainment journalists. The program offers emerging film critics, broadcasters and other journalists unrestricted access to cover the Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ+ Film Festival while receiving a stipend and mentorship from journalists at media outlets including ReutersThe New York TimesThe Hollywood Reporter , KABC-TV and more. This year’s fellows include Gisselle Palomera, Jireh Deng, Joey Harvey, Kayla Thompson, Kelsey Brown, Kristian Fanene Schmidt, Lindsay Lee Wallace, Marcus’Anthony II, Ose Ehianeta Arheghan, Eli Press-Reynolds and Shahamat Mohammed Uddin. 


Karine Jean-Pierre has served as the White House press secretary since May 2022, and she is the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve in the position.  She previously served as the deputy press secretary from 2020-2022 and before that as the chief of staff for the U.S. Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris during the 2020 presidential campaign. 


Prior to that, she served as Chief Public Affairs Officer for MoveOn.org. Jean-Pierre served as Regional Political Director for the White House Office of Political Affairs during the Obama-Biden administration and as Deputy Battleground States Director for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. She served as Southeast Regional Political Director for President Obama’s 2008 campaign, Deputy Campaign Manager for Martin O’Malley for President, Campaign Manager for the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Initiative, and Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Legislative and Budget Affairs for two members in the New York City Council. 


Tickets are available to purchase Outfest’s Closing Night Gala and the remaining Outfest Los Angeles events at outfestla.org.   


Outfest Los Angeles opened on Thursday, July 13 and runs through Sunday, July 23 and the full program is available at outfestla.org.   


Genesis Motor America and Warner Bros. Discovery are the presenting sponsors of Outfest LA. Grand Sponsors are IMDb and Friends at Work. Additional sponsors include West Hollywood Travel + Tourism Board, Gilead Sciences, Comcast NBCUniversal, Hornitos, Sony Pictures, The Fight Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, ABC7 and On The Red Carpet, APLA Health, Bank of America, UTA, Second Home Hollywood, Amazon and Glamazon, and West One Music Group. 


About Outfest 

Founded by UCLA students in 1982, Outfest is the world’s leading organization that promotes equality by creating, sharing and protecting Queer and Trans stories on the screen. For forty-one years, Outfest has showcased thousands of films from around the world, educated and mentored hundreds of emerging filmmakers, and preserved more than 40,000 LGBTQ+ films and videos. Outfest programs include The Outfest Screenwriting Lab, which has mentored and helped launch the careers of nearly 150 screenwriters, and The Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, which, in partnership with the UCLA Film & Television Archive, is the only film archive in the world exclusively dedicated to preserving LGBTQ+ images, among others.