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Six GLAAD board members resign as fallout continues over AT&T merger flap

Six GLAAD board members resign as fallout continues over AT&T merger flap

Just days after the resignation of GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios, six board members of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation have resigned amid the fallout over the organization’s letter in support of AT&T’s proposed bid for wireless rival T-Mobile, POLITICO has reported.

Some board members were said to have resigned because of concerns that GLAAD failed to adhere to its conflict of interest standards and to protest GLAAD’s failure to protect its president, Jarrett Barrios, who submitted his letter of resignation to the group Saturday amid a growing backlash in the gay blogosphere over the group’s AT&T stance.

GLAAD board member Gary Bitner confirmed in an email to POLITICO on Wednesday that he had resigned. Five other board members — including Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers — also have submitted their resignations, according to the POLITICO source who is familiar with the matter. […]

The six former board members submitted a joint statement to POLITICO that said they resigned from the organization’s board for “various reasons,” but declined to comment on those reasons because they say “there’s been too much unfair and false information spread about GLAAD” recently.

The six GLAAD board members who resigned are: Bitner; Weingarten; Jocelyn Bramble, an associate at the law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf; Kelly Dermody, a partner at Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein in San Francisco; Humberto Mata, founder of nonprofit Fundación VIHDA in Ecuador; and James Walker, a commercial real estate executive, according to POLITICO.

A notable exception among the resignations is board member Troup Coronado, a former AT&T executive at the center of the recent controversy.

Phil Reese at The Washington Blade has revealed startling new information about Coronado — he previously worked for the right-wing, anti-gay Heritage Foundation and is in C-Span videos touting representing the organization.

After an investigation into Coronado’s past, the Blade has discovered that a Troup Coronado who graduated from the University of Texas at Austin the same year as AT&T’s Coronado, and whom an anonymous source confirmed is the same person, appeared in several CSPAN videos from 1991-1993 as a representative of the anti-gay conservative think-tank the Heritage Foundation.

Jeremy Hooper of the GoodAsYou blog was able to identify several instances of media outlets covering the Heritage Foundation opposition to pro-LGBT legislation in the 1980s and 1990s, and Heritage has been vocal in opposing same-sex marriage over the past decade. The CSPAN video gives Coronado’s title at the organization as Director of the New Majority Project. […]

Coronado was once an executive at AT&T, as well as a lobbyist for AT&T’s former parent company, BellSouth. Coronado left his position at AT&T late last year to launch a consultant firm — where it is alleged one of his most prominent clients is AT&T. The company reportedly tasked Coronado with securing LGBT organizational support for the AT&T/T-Mobile merger.

Over the weekend, Barrios resigned under increasing scrutiny of the 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.

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