Willner to Cable: Keep Up Fight Against HIV

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New York -- Insight Communications CEO Michael Willner accepted an award for leadership in helping the cable industry fight HIV and AIDS by saying “we must reinvigorate our efforts and work even harder to bring this terrible disease to its knees. Don’t give up.”

Willner was one of three individuals accepting awards at the annual benefit dinner for Cable Positive, the non profit organization that produces informational videos and documentaries and otherwise helps raise awareness of the still-deadly disease. This was the 11th consecutive year the dinner alone has raised more than $1 million in contributions.

Willner said Insight employees’ support of Cable Positive local efforts isn’t a company mandate but that company employees in all of its locations are actively involved with AIDS awareness and prevention, participate in fund raisers and sponsor events.

“Steve [Villano] convinced me that our corporate culture provided the foundation for employees to act intuitively,” he added.

“The cable industry provides life-saving information to all of the people we touch,” Willner said. “When AIDS came on the scene in the 1980s, I thought medical science would conquer the disease in a few years. I never thought that we would still be in search of a cure 25 years later. We are.”

In accepting the Joel A. Berger Award, MTV Networks International vice chairman Bill Roedy thanked the cable industry as a whole and his parent company Viacom in leading the charge against the AIDS fight.

“We are part of an incredible industry,” Roedy said. “Thank you for teaching me what you did and for helping me in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Fighting HIV/AIDS has to be part of a company’s DNA. Judy [McGrath, chairman and CEO of MTV Networks] and the rest of the team made sure that was part of the company’s DNA.”

Dr. Helene Gayle, President & CEO of CARE, received The Humanitarian Award at the event, which was hosted by Regan Hofmann, editor in chief of POZ magazine, who was featured in Cable Positive’s Positive Voices: Women & HIV documentary and is also appearing in Kenneth Cole’s newest ad campaign “25 Years of Non-Uniform Thinking.”

Award presenters include singer Wyclef Jean and actress CCH Pounder of hit FX series The Shield. The event was held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square.

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