Coronavirus News: NY Gov. Cuomo receives International Emmy Award for COVID leadership

Coronavirus Update for New York

WABC logo
Monday, November 23, 2020
Gov. Cuomo receives International Emmy for COVID leadership
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo received this year's International Emmy Founders Award in recognition of his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo received the Founders Award at the 48th International Emmy Awards in recognition of his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The award was presented Monday by International Academy President & CEO Bruce Paisner, with help from Spike Lee, Rosie Perez, Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal, Billy Joel in a special video.

Related: Guess who's coming to dinner? NY company selling Cuomo sticker

Here's a transcript of the award presentation for Cuomo:

Bruce Paisner: Welcome to the International Emmys. This year streaming from New York City, around the world. It is ironic and rather gratifying that although most of us cannot travel outside the borders of our own country, television programs continue to have an impact every place.

And today as you can see, we are traveling virtually. The impact of technology on our world is great and growing. Disease may create boundaries and limitations, but technology knocks them down and gives us new and sophisticated ways to communicate with each other. Last spring, when the virus was new and out of control, and the people of New York were frightened at its relentless spread. One man took it upon himself to use technology to spread reliable information and tell citizens what to do. Governor Cuomo's daily press conferences were a whole new dimension in public education. He informed, he demanded and he calmed people down. No one who saw it will easily forget it: The mountain, the boyfriend, the COVID test and the gradually declining numbers. People everywhere saw them. I have a friend who got up every morning in Abu Dhabi and watched the Governor's press conference of the day before on YouTube. I have many friends in California who admit that what they know, they know from Governor Cuomo and his explanations.

And as spring turned into summer this year, the people of New York went from fear of the unknown to increasing knowledge of what was known and a sense that somebody had a plan.

It is now my distinct pleasure to present the 2020 International Emmy Founders Award to Governor Andrew Cuomo, with a little help from some of my fellow New Yorkers.

Spike Lee: To my Governor, the Governor of Empire State, Andrew Cuomo

Robert De Niro: Congratulations, Andrew on your much deserved Founders Award.

Rosie Perez: Governor Andrew Cuomo, you are the man.

Ben Stiller: I was trying to think of something that I could say to you that would be funny, so I called your brother Chris, who could not understand why you're getting an Emmy since he's the one on television.

Billy Crystal: In the darkest days of the pandemic, your daily briefings, live from New York, gave us hope, gave us clarity, gave us the truth, and gave us something we were not getting from Washington: Leadership.

Billy Joel: In the midst of this storm, Andrew Cuomo became the nation's governor. People across the country tuned into his press conferences every day.

Spike Lee: Daily I was watching his press conferences, informing us, telling us what to do.

Ben Stiller: He also said that now that you're the "love gov" you've really transcended politics, and now you're more of a national sex symbol. You'll probably get more dates than votes. That's him saying that, not me.

Rosie Perez: You did your thing during COVID. New York was suffering, we were the epicenter, we were all in a crisis, in a panic and every single day you came on the airwaves and you opened your strength, your leadership and your direction and your caring and your heart.

Billy Crystal: You are the epitome of New York Tough.

Ben Stiller: These are things your brother says about you. I look up to you still.

Rosie Perez: And you set the example for the rest of the nation, the rest of the world how to be a leader during a time of crisis.

Robert De Niro: Thank you for your leadership during these trying times. We are New York Tough, smart, disciplined, united and loving.

Spike Lee: Thank you, Governor.

Billy Joel: Stay safe and please wear a mask.

Ben Stiller: I want to say congratulations again and anything that you didn't like that I said was your brother's Chris's idea.

Rosie Perez: Congratulations. Much love - Brooklyn loves you, Andrew Cuomo.

Governor Cuomo: Hello, I'm Governor Andrew Cuomo. What an honor and pleasant surprise during these hard times. I thank the International Academy and Bruce Paisner for this incredible award. Thank you to all the members of the Academy. Your work has brought smiles and hope and relief for so many people during these difficult days.

I wish I could say that my daily COVID presentations were well-choreographed, scripted, rehearsed or reflected any of the talents that you advance. They didn't. They offered only one thing, authentic truth and stability. But sometimes that's enough.

For all the darkness there was light. People worked together, everyone did what they could do. Our everyday heroes - the doctors and nurses, who work in dangerous emergency rooms, the police, the ambulance drivers, the food store employees - everyone who leaves the safety of their home every day, so we can remain in the safety of ours. Actors used their talents to communicate essential facts to Americans: Social distancing, safety and wear a mask - wear a mask because it's smart and because we care about one another.

I'm proud of New Yorkers who had the courage to tell the truth and the strength to stand together. That's what New York Tough means. To be tough enough to say I love you, I care about you, I need you, to see past the color of skin, religion or sexual orientation, to see the humanity in each other. How we are all interconnected and all interrelated, and that our destiny is not individually determined but rather determined by what we do together. That's just not my message or a New York message - it is a universal message and one we need to hear now more than ever.

I appreciate the humor from my friends in the video and I take it in good stride and to Ben Stiller whose teasing took liberal license, testing the boundaries of decorum and good taste I only say, New York tough means one more thing - it means Ben, I know where you live.

Thank you - thank you for this tremendous honor. Thank you for sharing your gifts with all of us. Give love, get love. We will get through this together, and we will be the stronger for it. Thank you.

MORE: Here's what each COVID zone in New York means:


CDC updated Thanksgiving guidelines

New York, New Jersey, Connecticut out-of-state travelers information

New CDC guidelines on masks

New York City Positivity Tracker

How coronavirus changed the New York region

Do you have coronavirus symptoms?


New York City

New Jersey

Long Island

Westchester and Hudson Valley


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus

Submit a News Tip