It was just one photo on the night of the historic announcement that an LGBT group would march in the NYC Saint Patrick’s Day parade, but when Andrew Brewer of NBC Universal was photographed with a smiling Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the picture spoke volumes.
It has emerged that Brewer, Vice President of East Coast Programs and Content at NBC Universal, was the key figure behind the NBC group’s outreach.
Brewer was first credited with “securing the deal” in the Guardian’s coverage of the announcement.
In a Facebook post shortly after the news broke, he wrote, “Everyone who knows me knows I began working on this two years ago. Today it broke and I AM BEYOND THRILLED!! Sorry I couldn't tell ALL YOU FOLKS sooner. . .Thanks for your support!!! ONWARD AND UPWARD!!”
New York’s NBC station, WNBC, is the official broadcaster of the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and it is understood that NBC had been prepared to drop its coverage unless a breakthrough was reached in the 20-year-long conflict between the parade committee and New York’s LGBT Irish community.
“We welcome the parade committee’s decision to accept [email protected] application to march and enthusiastically embrace the gesture of inclusion,” Craig Robinson, Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for NBCUniversal, said in a statement last week.
“Our employees, families and friends look forward to joining in this time-honored celebration of Irish culture and heritage.”
Brewer was unable to discuss his work on the parade deal or his Irish ancestry for this article, as NBC is not commenting further on the St. Patrick’s Day parade at this time.
However, more recent posts on Brewer’s Facebook communicate his pride in the achievement and his passion for his Irish heritage.
After the parade committee’s official conference last Wednesday at the New York Athletic Club, where Cardinal Dolan was also announced as grand marshal of the 2015 parade, Brewer shared the photo of himself with Cardinal Dolan.
“So just when you thought it couldn't get any better just came from a press conference where the Parade's Grand Marshall [sic] Cardinal Dolan said he was ‘very supportive’ of the change,” he wrote.
“I am proud/excited to be an [sic] longtime NBC employee, proud/excited to be a part of the bend towards inclusion and proud/excited to be an Irishman who is in love with both the Islands of Manhattan and Eire!”
The following day, he voiced his delight over the story’s front page coverage from the New York Times and Daily News, and wrote that he had received big congratulations from “Late Night” host Seth Meyers after running into him at the NBC fitness center.
Despite the outrage expressed by some Irish LGBT groups that the parade committee has capitulated to its corporate sponsors rather than welcoming members of the Irish LGBT community, Brewer appears to still be pleased with the success of [email protected] Yesterday he shared a link to the "Colbert Report's" take on the news, writing "Yet another good moment as last week fades into memory..."
As previously reported, Brewer’s fellow NBC exec Frank Comerford, Chief Revenue Officer for NBC-owned TV stations, is also understood to have played a major role in the deal. A prominent member of the New York Irish community, Comerford served as the St. Patrick’s Day parade grand marshal in 2012 and is on the parade committee’s board.