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Stars show solidarity with Orlando victims, LGBT community

Kate MüserJune 13, 2016

From George Takei to J.K. Rowling, celebrities respond with shock and condolences to the Orlando shooting, in which 50 people were killed in a gay nightclub. Sunday night's Tony Awards were dedicated to the victims.

Mourners after the mass shooting in Orlando, Copyright: Getty Images/AFP/L. Buckman"
Image: Getty Images/AFP/L. Buckman

After the largest single-handed mass shooting in US history unfolded in the early hours of Sunday (12.06.2016), celebrities were quick to take to social media to express their grief.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling posted a moving tribute to one of the victims, Luis Vielma, who had a direct connection to her work:

Many openly gay stars also showed solidarity with those killed and injured in the shooting at Pulse, one of Orlando's most popular gay nightclubs, and urged support for the LGBT community as a whole. Singer Ricky Martin refused to give in to fear.

Talk show host Ellen Degeneres simply tweeted "sobbing," while actor, director and activist George Takei used the trending hashtag #onepulse and a ribbon of solidarity. #LoveisLove and #GaysBreakTheInternet were also trending Sunday and Monday.

In a Facebook post, Takei quoted children's television show host Fred Rogers - "in times of crisis, look to the helpers" - and appealed to fans to donate to GoFundMe in support for the victims.

Tony Awards dedicated to Orlando victims

Just hours after the deadly shooting occurred, the Tony Awards - Broadway's most prestigious prize - were held in New York and were dedicated to the victims in Orlando. "Hate will never win. Together we have to make sure of that," said Tony's host James Corden. "Tonight's show stands as a symbol and a celebration of that principle."

In response, Orlando's Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, and Kathy Ramsberger, President and CEO of Orlando's Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts posted this video message to Broadway:

In what was an emotional ceremony with many attendees sporting silver stars in solidarity, Lin-Manuel Miranda's wildly successful musical, "Hamilton," about the first US treasury secretary, won 11 Tonys, coming away just shy of "The Producers" 12-Tony record.

In a performance of "Hamilton" at the Tonys, the cast did away with firearms as a tribute to the Orlando victims.

"Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda posted a simple rainbow heart in solidarity on Sunday.

Calls for gun control

Some took the opportunity to speak out for tighter restrictions on gun ownership, like Oscar-winning filmmaker and producer Dustin Lance Black. Also an LGBT rights activist, Black received an Academy Award in 2008 for the film "Milk."

Similarly, Jesse Tyler Ferguson from the popular television series "Modern Family," posted not only his condolences, but also an appeal for gun control.

The gunman has been identified as Omar Mateen, a US citizen with Afghan roots. He pledged allegiance to the "Islamic State" (IS) in a 911 phone call he made shortly before the attack, and IS claimed responsibility for the attack on a website.