FIRE’s President Wins Inaugural Freedom of Expression Award

By September 24, 2008

We are proud to announce this morning that FIRE President Greg Lukianoff is the inaugural recipient of the Playboy Foundation’s Freedom of Expression Award.

The new Freedom of Expression Award is given to support an individual "whose record of accomplishments indicates a promising future as an effective advocate for the First Amendment." The award is the newest of the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards, which have been presented by the Playboy Foundation annually since 1979 to honor citizens who have "contributed significantly to the vital effort to protect and enhance First Amendment rights for Americans."

Past recipients of Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards include journalist and First Amendment Center founder John Seigenthaler, Sr., television personality Bill Maher, legal professor and constitutional historian Michael Kent Curtis, legal scholar and author Ronald K.L. Collins, legal professor and author David Cole, entertainers Penn & Teller, and journalist and member of FIRE’s Board of Advisors Nat Hentoff. This is the first year that the Playboy Foundation has awarded the new Freedom of Expression Award, which includes a $25,000 cash grant.

The distinguished selection committee for the Freedom of Expression award included Nadine Strossen, former President of the American Civil Liberties Union; Geoffrey Stone, Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at University of Chicago Law School; and David M. Rubin, former Dean of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Greg was nominated for the award by David Rubenstein, the founder and executive director of EnvironMentors, an award-winning mentorship program for at-risk youth involved in environmental projects. Rubenstein is currently the Principal of the Thoughtful Action Group, a nonprofit consulting group.

In awarding Greg the inaugural Freedom of Expression award, Christie Hefner, Chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, Inc., stated, "Greg Lukianoff has defended freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience on our college campuses, and we are proud to help support his ongoing work to protect individual liberties."

We at FIRE are extremely proud of Greg’s accomplishment. Our many successes defending liberty here at FIRE serve as testament to his hard work, dedication, and leadership. Congratulations, Greg!