Comedienne-turned-talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and U.S. style guru Tim Gunn have been named PETA's Woman and Man of the Year. The two celebrities scored the honors for their "exceptional efforts to place animal rights issues before a large audience".
"Vegan" DeGeneres used every opportunity on her show and online to promote a meat-free diet in 2009 and she also used her fame to highlight a cruelty-free lifestyle. "Project Runway" host Gunn, the creative director at fur-free Liz Claiborne Inc., narrated PETA's video Fashion Victims, which exposes the cruelty of the fur trade and details how snakes used for clothing are sometimes nailed to trees and have their bodies cut open with knives before they are skinned.
Gunn recently told the Los Angeles Times, "Wearing fur is like wearing a big sign reading, 'I'm in favor of inflicting cruelty and pain on animals as a fashion statement.'"
Honoring the top couple, PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk tells WENN, "Tim Gunn and Ellen DeGeneres show us that one person really can make a difference in the world by rejecting cruel deeds in favor of compassionate acts. Their message that animals must be treated kindly and respectfully has reached scores of people, and many of them have changed their buying habits, all because Gunn and DeGeneres spoke up for the voiceless."
The couple will receive award plaques and letters of appreciation from PETA.