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.
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 GLAAD later rescinded the letter, claiming it was sent in error.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Among them, reports of a letter to the FCC written by GLAAD opposing net neutrality, which was later withdrawn.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.