The Lavender Scare

    Josh Howard

    Producer, Director

    Josh Howard is a producer and broadcast executive with more than 25 years of experience in news and documentary production.

    He has been honored with 24 Emmy Awards, mostly for his work on the CBS News broadcast 60 Minutes. Josh began his career at 60 Minutes reporting stories with correspondent Mike Wallace. He was then named senior producer of the broadcast, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the program's 100-member staff in New York, Washington, and abroad. He then became executive editor, second-in-command to Don Hewitt, the legendary creator and executive producer of 60 Minutes. Following that, he served as executive producer of the weeknight edition of 60 Minutes.

    Josh then joined NBC Universal as Vice President of Long Form Programming for CNBC. In that position, he created a unit that produced a series of highly rated and lavishly praised documentaries focusing on American business.

    His 90-minute film Big Brother, Big Business, which explored the ways in which corporate America works hand-in-hand with the government to collect information about the personal habits of private citizens, won the Emmy Award for Best Documentary on a Business Topic in 2006 -- one of three Emmy Awards he earned for CNBC (the first Emmys won by CNBC in its 20-year history).  

    Betsy West

    Executive Producer

    Betsy West is an award-winning producer with 25 years experience in network television and documentary film production. She produced Oscar-nominee Oren Jacoby's documentary Constantine's Sword and helped oversee its theatrical and DVD release in 2008. She is currently executive producer of MAKERS: Women Who Made America, a PBS documentary and internet project about the women's movement.

    Betsy began her career at ABC News, where she traveled the world as one of the original producers of Nightline. After helping create the news magazine PrimeTime Live, she developed, launched and served as executive producer of the documentary program Turning Point from 1994-1998.

    Betsy joined CBS News as senior vice President in 1998. At CBS she oversaw 60 Minutes and 48 Hours, and was the executive in charge of 9/11, the two-hour documentary that won a Peabody Award and the Emmy Award for Best Documentary in 2002.

    Betsy has won a total of 18 Emmy Awards, two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Journalism Gold Baton Awards, an Overseas Press Club Award, and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

    She was appointed associate professor at the Columbia University School of Journalism in 2007.

    Kevin Jennings

    Executive Producer

    Kevin Jennings is the executive director of the Arcus Foundation, an internationally recognized nonprofit organization that supports groups working to advance equality across the spectrum of sexual orientations and gender identities. The foundation is also committed to providing funding for global conservation initiatives.

    Previously, Kevin was CEO of Be the Change, a nonprofit group that creates national issue-based campaigns designed to address pressing problems in American society.

    From 2009 through 2011, Kevin served as Assistant Deputy Secretary of Education, heading the department's Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools. In this role, he led the Obama Administration's anti-bullying initiative, which culminated in the March 2011 White House Conference on Bullying Prevention keynoted by President Obama. 

    Kevin began his career as a high school history teacher and coach, first at Moses Brown School in Providence, R.I., from 1985 to 1987, and then at Concord Academy in Concord, Mass., from 1987 to 1995. At Concord, he served as the faculty advisor to the nation’s first Gay-Straight Alliance, leading him in 1990 found the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a national education organization bringing together lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and straight teachers, parents, students, and community members who wanted to end anti-LGBT bias in our schools.

    He left teaching in 1995 to build the all-volunteer GLSEN organization into a national force, serving as its founding Executive Director until 2008. Under his leadership, GLSEN programs such as Gay-Straight Alliance, the Day of Silence and No Name-Calling Week became commonplace in America’s schools. GLSEN’s advocacy was key in passing comprehensive safe schools laws in eleven states, increasing the number of students protected from anti-LGBT discrimination from fewer than 900,000 in 1993 (less than 2% of the national student body) to 14.3 million by 2008 (nearly 30%).

    Kevin became the first member of his family to graduate from college when he received his B.A. magna cum laude in history from Harvard University in 1985. He also holds an MA in education from Columbia University’s Teachers College and an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business. He has received the Human and Civil Rights Award of the National Education Association, the Distinguished Service Award of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and the Diversity Leadership Award of the National Association of Independent Schools. He was elected Chief Marshal of the 2010 Harvard Commencement as the member of his class who has had the greatest positive impact on the world since graduating.

    He is a Board Member of the Harvard Alumni Association and Union Theological Seminary, and is also Board Chair for the Tectonic Theater Project, which created The Laramie Project.

    Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son: A Memoir, one of six books he has authored, was named a Book of Honor by the American Library Association in 2006. He also helped write and produce the documentary Out of the Past, which won the 1998 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary.

    Kevin and his partner, Jeff Davis, a senior executive at Barclay’s, celebrated their 17th year together in 2011. They are the proud “parents” of a golden retriever, Amber, and a Bernese mountain dog, Ben, and also have a “granddog” in Ben’s son, Jackson, born in March 2009.

    Jill Landes

    Associate Director

    Jill Landes is a broadcast journalist with a wide range of experience in both breaking news coverage and documentary programming.

    At CBS Radio, Jill produced a series of award-winning documentaries on such diverse subjects as The Decline of Communism and The History of Chicago Jazz.  She reported on hurricanes, political conventions, the space program and the Reagan-Gorbachev summit meetings, and shared in both an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award and a George Foster Peabody Award for her work during the uprising at Tiananmen Square.

    As a television journalist, Jill developed and produced stories at Eye to Eye with Connie Chung, America Tonight, and both the Sunday and weeknight editions of 60 Minutes.  She has been honored with two Emmy Awards, including one for a 60 Minutes report featuring the first and only television interview given by David Greenglass, the brother of Ethel Rosenberg and one of the key figures in the Rosenberg spy case. 

    In 2006, Jill moved to CNBC, the business news channel of NBC/Universal, where she produced stories for Business Nation (the award-winning CNBC newsmagazine) as well as feature-length documentary films.  Her most recent documentary, House of Cards, which explored the origins of the worldwide financial crisis, was recognized with both a 2010 National Headliner Award and a Gerald Loeb Award, which is considered to be one of the highest honors in business journalism.

    Rich White

    Director of Photography

    Rich White, Director of Photography, is an Emmy Award-winning cinematographer with over 30 years of experience behind the camera.

    His keen sense of storytelling, and his ability to craft a compelling narrative through the use of video, can be seen in his work on 60 Minutes, Dateline NBC, and many other network news broadcasts for which he has travelled the world.

    Rich brings those same skills to the big screen through his extensive work on documentary feature films.

    His recent credits include Hey Boo: Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird, a nationally released feature by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Mary McDonagh Murphy; A Joyous Sound, filmmaker Julie Cohen’s portrait of Ivan Fischer and his Budapest Festival Orchestra; and Pedro Ruiz: Coming Home, the story of the noted Cuban American choreographer, which was filmed in Cuba in 2011 for Julie Cohen and Better Than Fiction Productions.

    His current projects, in addition to The Lavender Scare, include a feature documentary by Academy Award nominee Kristi Zea about the life and work of the late artist Elizabeth Murray.


    David Johnson

    Author,The Lavender Scare

    A nationally recognized authority on gay and lesbian history, David K. Johnson is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of South Florida.

    His first book, The Lavender Scare, is based on years of research in the National Archives, dozens of interviews with former civil servants, and newly declassified government files.

    Meticulously researched, it is the first scholarly work to document the powerful personal stories of the gay and lesbian Americans who became scapegoats in the Cold War hysteria over national security.

    The Lavender Scare was honored with a Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction, the Herbert Hoover Book Award (recognizing the best scholarly work on twentieth century U.S. history), and the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award (honoring works focusing on human rights).

    David's research has been used to support the arguments of gay rights advocates in several court cases, including Lawrence v. Texas, the landmark Supreme Court decision that struck down laws prohibiting certain sexual acts by consenting adults that was mainly enforced against gay people. More recently, his work was used as supporting evidence in the Proposition 8 trial in California.

    David earned a B.A. from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. in U.S. history from Northwestern University. He has held fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution, the Social Science Research Council, and the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the City University of New York.

    His second book, The U.S. Since 1945, is an edited anthology of key speeches, articles, and government documents from modern American politics and culture.

    His current book project, Buying Gay, explores the history of gay consumer culture before Stonewall and the origins of the gay rights movement.