For the past five years, around the time of AIDS Walk Los Angeles every October people who live near or drive by Paramount Pictures on Melrose may have noticed a red AIDS-awareness ribbon posted on the studio’s gate. The ribbon is a well-known symbol of support for people living with HIV and AIDS…but for the studio, it turns out, the commitment is not just symbolic. In fact, HIV/AIDS is one of four major charitable causes the studio supports at the corporate level (along with the environment, education and volunteerism), and that support goes back more than 30 years, to the mid-1980s and the very first AIDS Walk Los Angeles.
In 1985, just three days before AIDS Project Los Angeles held the first-ever AIDS Walk, actor Rock Hudson announced he had been diagnosed with AIDS. Organizers of the upcoming walk were hoping to raise $100,000 from their inaugural event, but in the wake of Hudson’s announcement, the first AIDS Walk LA – which had its official starting point at Paramount Pictures – raised close to $700,000. And since then, the annual walks have raised a total of more than $88 million for the cause…and Paramount has been involved as an official Grand Sponsor every year.