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GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios resigns under scrutiny of AT&T endorsement

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Jarrett Barrios, the president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has resigned under increasing scrutiny of GLAAD’s recent endorsement of AT&T’s merger with T-Mobile, and conflicting statements related to net neutrality rules.

Jarrett Barrios

GLAAD Communications Director Rich Ferraro announced the resignation in a email on Saturday to Metro Weekly.

Earlier today, a source told POLITICO that GLAAD’s executive committee voted in favor of removing Barrios, who until now has refused to resign.

POLITICO’s Eliza Krigman reported recently that GLAAD was among a number of progressive groups with no obvious institutional interest in telecom issues who received money from AT&T and subsequently issued public statements supporting AT&T’s merger with T-Mobile.

Another letter was sent from GLAAD to the FCC opposing possible net neutrality rules. GLAAD later rescinded the letter, claiming it was sent in error. The issue had created an uproar in the gay blogosphere.

According to POLITICO, AT&T lined up support for its acquisition of T-Mobile “from a slew of liberal groups with no obvious interest in telecom deals — except that they’ve received big piles of AT&T’s cash.”

GLAAD reportedly received $50,000 from AT&T, and backed the merger, saying it had “the understanding that the merger will increase functionality and speed, thus growing engagement and improving the effectiveness of the online advocacy work that is advancing equality for all.”

The AT&T endorsement attracted little media attention, until former GLAAD board of directors co-chair Laurie Perper appeared on Michelangelo Signorile’s Sirius-XM “OutQ” show on June 14 to sound the alarm on other alleged improprieties by GLAAD and Barrios.

Among them, reports of a letter to the FCC written by GLAAD opposing net neutrality, which was later withdrawn. Net neutrality is a principle which advocates against restrictions by Internet Service Providers or governments on consumers’ access to the internet, and would prevent restrictions on content, sites, and web platforms.

The circumstances around the letter was covered up by GLAAD and Barrios, until he finally admitted he had sent the letter.

Afterward, Barrios — who has been at the helm of GLAAD for 23 months — granted numerous interviews to counter Perper’s claims, but his responses, however, only served to attract more scrutiny of the organization.

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11 more reader comments:

  1. He had no business endorsing AT&T or any other corporation in the name of GLAAD.

    Posted on Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 5:39pm
  2. Dammit, why does it have to be a President of a Gay organization to take money to support businesses in capping internet.

    Unfortunately guys, he admitted he sent the letter and the evidence is against him; now our reputation is destroyed yet again…

    Posted on Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 10:56pm
  3. Dammit, why does it have to be a President of a Gay organization to take money to support businesses in capping internet.

    Unfortunately guys, he admitted he sent the letter and the evidence is against him; now our reputation is destroyed yet again….

    Posted on Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 10:57pm
  4. Having known Jarrett Barrios for more than 20 years, I feel very comfortable in writing that I have never known a more dedicated, honest, ethical public servant. GLAAD and our community will miss Jarrett’s leadership and vision more than most can understand. Unfortunately, our community throws people under the bus quite easily, which stops many talented leaders from emerging from our community.

    Posted on Sunday, June 19, 2011 at 9:28am
  5. Chris, no need to get melodramatic. A few other groups were involved. Nobody looks good in this one.

    Posted on Sunday, June 19, 2011 at 9:32am
  6. I believe our community will come to realize that Jarrett resigned to save GLAAD from any more damage, and he did so in the face of inaccurate media reports, some likely slanderous, and unfortunate Board in-fighting. Jarrett offered himself up for the chopping block. He’s proud of where he taken GLAAD; so am I. Mistakes were probably made but not the kind that result in this blog-led character assassination.

    Posted on Sunday, June 19, 2011 at 5:51pm
  7. Chad, your judgement is clouded by your friendship or whatever relationship you have with this man. What he did was excessively corrupt. I see no character assassination. The facts are simply laid out for the world to see. GLAAD has no business supporting corporate mergers. This net neutrality letter is especially outrageous. Just because you like someone it does not excuse his unethical behavior.

    Posted on Sunday, June 19, 2011 at 8:44pm
  8. Chad should speak for himself , not the community.
    See ya, Jarrett. Glad you’re gone. Shade.

    Posted on Sunday, June 19, 2011 at 10:36pm
  9. I’m not taking a side or anything. I just don’t fully understand I think. Why is it so bad that this guy endorsed an AT&T merger. Like did one of those companies make anti gay statement or something. Idk, I don’t get it. What’s so bad. Was the guy keeping the 50 k for himself or was it going towards GLAAD? Like I just don’t really understand why what he did was wrong, especially if the money is for the organization. Can someone please clarify for me?

    Posted on Sunday, June 19, 2011 at 11:49pm
  10. Chad,
    He admitted that he wrote the letter. He endorsed the merger. Where is the misunderstanding?

    I’m sure he’s a very passionate and dedicated, hard worker. But that does not mean passion and hard work = translate to making ALL the right and ethical decisions.

    You are clearly clouded by your friendship with Jarrett. Knowing someone for 20 years, I have given a free pass to many of my lifelong friendships. Who hasn’t on a personal basis? But wake up! No one is perfect.

    Posted on Sunday, June 19, 2011 at 11:50pm
  11. Sam,
    there are several reason why what he did was a big no-no. For the AT&T deal it looks pretty clear that he had GLADD endorsing the merger an issue that had NOTHING to with the stated purpose of GLADD and it’s mission and it’s pretty clear cute case of bribing and paying for influence. The net neutrality letter is even more damning because not having net neutrality is actually harmful from LGBT organizations because the government and businesses can block positive LGBT information and access whereas with net neutraility a lot of the censoring of LGBT content and blocking wouldn’t be allowed.
    Not surprisingly the biggest opponents of net neutrality are the big tele-comms like AT&T.

    On the of the biggest issues for non-profits is to have no appearance of inappropriate behavior or doing favours for their corporate sponsors. This crossed that line in a huge really bad way.

    Posted on Monday, June 20, 2011 at 9:08am