Tony Awards Host James Corden Acknowledges Orlando Tragedy in Opening: 'Hate Will Never Win'

Tony Awards host James Corden wasted no time addressing Sunday’s mass shooting in Orlando. At the top of the CBS telecast, Corden spoke directly to viewers at home, saying, “On behalf of the whole theater community, our hearts go out to all of those affected by this atrocity. Your tragedy is our tragedy.

“Theater is a place where every race, creed, sexuality and gender is equal, is embraced and is loved,” he continued. “Hate will never win. Together we have to make sure of that. Tonight’s show stands as a symbol and a celebration of that principal.”

Tony organizers released a statement early Sunday announcing that the 70th annual ceremony would be dedicated to the family and friends affected by the gay nightclub massacre, which left more than 50 people dead and another 53 injured. “Our hearts are heavy for the unimaginable tragedy that happened last night in Orlando,” they said. “Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those affected. The Tony Awards dedicate tonight’s ceremony to them.”

The early-Sunday attack ranks as the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.