Orlando Gay Nightclub Shooting Victims And Families Remembered And Honored At Tony Awards 2016

By Samantha Finch, Parent Herald June 12, 09:23 pm

This year's Tony Awards ceremony is dedicated to the victims and families of the Orlando gay nightclub shooting, deemed as the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States. Hosted by James Corden, the 70th annual Tony Awards airs live at 8PM ET/PT on CBS.

Les Moonves, CBS' chief executive, told CNNMoney that "it's important that the show go on" and that the Broadway community is doing this to honor the victims at the gay nightclub Pulse. The cast of "Hamilton," which has bagged a whopping 16 nominations for this year's Tonys, has performed an opening number where they ditched their usual prop muskets to honor the victims of the shooting spree in Orlando, Florida.

Corden began the Tony Awards with a heartfelt message. The English TV host said that the victims' "tragedy is our tragedy" and that theater is "a place where every race, creed, sexuality, and gender is equal, is embraced, and is loved," CNNMoney further reported.

The Tony Awards also made special ribbons dedicated to the victims and families. It is expected that a handful of the Broadway stars will forego the customary interviews and photo ops at the red carpet.

Hate Crime

The 29-year-old gunman, Omar Mateen, was an American citizen with parents from Afghanistan. Mateen brought an assault rifle and a pistol into the crowded Pulse nightclub around 2AM on Sunday, killing 50 people and injured 53 others, CNN reported. He was killed by Orlando police after a three-hours standoff.

In an address to the nation, President Barack Obama labeled the Orlando massacre as "an act of terror and act of hate" against the LGBT community. During his attack, Mateen reportedly called 911 and pledged allegiance to terrorist group ISIS. A dark web site connected with the ISIS news agency Amaq also posted a message claiming Mateen as an ISIS fighter.

The shooting spree was condemned by several groups like the Vatican, Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR. CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper said the attack is a "hate crime" that they "condemn in the strongest possible terms," CNN reported.

Call To End Gun Violence

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America has staged a demonstration outside the Beacon Theatre in New York prior to the Tony Awards and urged supporters to wear orange pieces of clothing to honor the victims in Orlando. More than 100 members of the Moms Demand Action attended the demonstration aimed to demand action on gun violence and gun control in the U.S., the group's Twitter page shared.

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