understands the power of visibility in Hollywood. Considered one of the most
powerful women in the industry, the producer has broken down barriers for both
women and the LGBT community for the past 20+ years.
On Saturday, March
19, the Human Rights Campaign will honor Jacobson with the Visibility Award for
her continued success as an openly gay woman, who “sets the stage as an example
for others to follow.”
tells ETonline she hasn't done much in terms of producing LGBT characters
on screen, but she has been at the forefront of change within the entertainment
industry. In the early ‘90s, she and producer Bruce Cohen formed Out There, an
organization for LGBT personnel in Hollywood. Jacobson has since been an
outspoken advocate, unashamed of who she is -- even when it wasn’t always in her
best professional interest.
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“There were times,
even at Disney, where I would get friendly advice not to be [out] -- ‘there's
more to you than just being gay’ and ‘you don't have to make this such a part
of your identity’ and that kind of thing,” Jacobson says of her former
employer, which also reportedly terminated her as president of Buena Vista
Motion Pictures while she was in the hospital with her partner, who had just
given birth to their third child. At Disney, she produced such hits as The
Sixth Sense, The Princess Diaries, and the Pirates of the
Caribbean franchise. (Disney did not respond to a request for comment for this story.)
“The truth is that
it's kind of an all or nothing deal. Visibility is the only answer in many
respects. It's the only route towards progress,” she continues.
That’s not to
minimize Jacobson’s impact on screen. In the years since, she founded Color
Force, producing The Hunger Games franchise and launching FX’s hit
anthology series, American Crime Story. Both projects have helped provide
a new -- and sometimes harsh -- perspective on issues surrounding gender, race,
politics, and celebrity culture.