22nd Annual Webby Awards

May 2018. New York, Cipriani Wall Street

The 22nd Annual Webby Awards were held at Cipriani Wall Street on Monday, May 14, 2018, with winners & presenters including David Letterman, FKA twigs, Adam Sandler, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Mitchell Baker, Kara Swisher, and David Harbour from “Stranger Things.” Honoring the best of the internet, the Webby Awards is renowned for limiting award recipients’ speeches to 5-words or less. This year’s Awards was once again a star studded affair and for the 14th consecutive year, Empire Entertainment served as producer.

Host Amber Ruffin, from Late Night With Seth Meyers, set the tone with a fantastic internet-centric monologue before introducing presenters and winners to the stage. In addition to those above, these included Dominique Fishback, Silicon Valley’s Jimmy O. Yang, Vicente Fox, Jesse Williams, David Chang, Steven Soderbergh, NBA all-star Isiah Thomas, NFL Super Bowl Champion, CNN’s Laurie Segall, Jennifer Ferrin and Webby Person of the Year award recipient, Susan Fowler.

Winners’ 5-word speeches alternated from poignant (FKA twigs “Treat people kindly. Start now.”) to protest (“Net Neutrality, you greedy motherfu*X#ers!” by David Harbour), to spur of the moment irreverence (Adam Sandler’s rave about Cipriani’s dinner, “How about that fu*#ing chicken??!!”).

The most memorable acceptance of the night arguably came from Late Night legend, David Letterman, who after saying “Thank you”, created a theatrically dramatic pause, removing his glasses, seeming to cry, before finally adding “tears of joy” to describe his emotions about winning a Webby award.

But the most memorable moment of the night wasn’t an award at all. The Webbys recognized the March For Our Lives movement, and three of the student survivors of recent school shootings were introduced to the stage. The students chose not to receive the traditional trophy, spurring the Webbys to also break tradition - allowing them to speak as much as they wanted. Their brave and insightful remarks were a call for change in gun laws, and they walked off the stage to a roaring standing ovation from the crowd.

Attendees were mesmerized by a spectacular set designed by David Korins Design (scenic designer of Broadway’s “Hamilton”) as they ate a sumptuous meal served to perfection to the maximum capacity audience that filled Cipriani Wall Street.

Empire is proud of our longstanding relationships with the Webby Awards and are honored to have served as their producing partner since 2005.

The 22nd Annual Webby Awards can be viewed in full here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiq-n3lopZw

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