Anderson Cooper Thanks Boyfriend Ben Maisani at GLAAD Awards, Madonna Honors CNN Anchor in Boy Scout Uniform
Madonna couldn't resist getting a bit cheeky during her speech honoring CNN anchor Anderson Cooper at the GLAAD Awards on Saturday, March 16. The Material Girl, clad in a navy blue boy scout uniform and oversized cowboy hat, called Cooper a "bad ass mother f--ker" as she brought him up onstage to receive the award.
"Anderson, you are intelligent, you're gorgeous -- you are an excellent journalist," the 54-year-old singer said at the podium. "You have the most beautiful blue eyes I've ever seen. And half of America is in love with you -- maybe more than half."
"The reason I love you is because you are a freedom fighter. You are a bad ass mother f--ker," she continued. "You are brave and the world needs more people like you. Come get your award. Give me a reason to grab your ass."
The iconic singer also explained that she was wearing the scout uniform as a way to call attention to the Boy Scouts of America organization to cease its ban on gay members.
"I wanted to be a Boy Scout but they wouldn't let me join," she told the audience. "I think they should change their stupid rules, don't you?"
Anderson, who came out in an open letter to political blogger Andrew Sullivan last July, was happy to receive the Vito Russo award, recognizing his work as an accomplished, openly gay journalist, and gamely accepted the honors -- and a kiss! -- from Madonna.
"Do I have lipstick from Madonna on me?" he joked as he wiped his mouth. "It's a first. Kissing a woman, that is."
The CNN anchor then went on to speak about his experiences in the media industry, and what it meant for him to finally open up about his sexuality last summer.
"I'm only here because of what others have done -- so much more than I will ever do," he said. "As a gay person, it's important for me to remember that all of us come from a community whose stories for too long have been forgotten or ignored. …I've had so many blessings in my life. Being gay is certainly one of the greatest blessings."
"It has allowed me to love and be loved, to open my head and open my heart in ways I would have never predicted," he continued in his heartfelt speech. "The ability to love one another, the ability to love another person is in my opinion one of God's greatest gifts and I thank God every day for the ability to give and share love with the people in my life. My family, my friends, my partner Benjamin, thank you very much."
Cooper, 45, is currently dating nightclub owner Ben Maisani, who were "inseparable" throughout the night, an onlooker tells Us. "Ben didn't leave Anderson's side once throughout the night and when Anderson went backstage to say hello to Madonna, Ben came with him."