GLAAD President Resigns Over AT&T Endorsement Controversy

After increasing criticism from the gay community, Jarrett Barrios was voted out

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Surrounded by increasing scrutiny over the strange alliance between the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and AT&T, the president of GLAAD, Jarrett Barrios, resigned on Saturday, Politio reports. Earlier today, Politico wrote that a source said that the executive committee of GLAAD voted in favor of removing Barrios, who refused to resign. "Barrios may now take the issue to the full board of directors," Smith indicated. Later, he received an email from a GLAAD spokewoman that said Barrios had now agreed to step down:

This evening Jarrett Barrios resigned from his position as President of GLAAD. I’m sure you might have seen a Politico article that ran this evening regarding GLAAD’s Board of Directors. I just wanted to let you know there will be an announcement from GLAAD this evening to address those accusations.

The controversy began when it came out that GLAAD had endorsed AT&T's mega merger with T-Mobile. Criticism was based on the fact that, first of all, the merger had little to do with defamation, the purpose of GLAAD. Second, GLAAD's endorsement made it appear as though GLAAD had been brought off, given that AT&T "underwrites the GLAAD awards" and "has made significant monetary grants to the organization." And perhaps the most controversial fact of all was that GLAAD is a strong supporter of net neutrality, a position that AT&T is strongly against.

Barrios was confronted with a letter found by the Bilerico Project wherein GLAAD backs away from its support of net neutrality "in favor of emphasizing AT&T's priority--broadband proliferation," but Barrios called the letter a mistake. And in response to GLAAD's former co-chair Laurie Perper accusing the group of "trading favors" with corporate sponsors and mismanaging its finances, GLAAD fired back in a statement calling her accusations "factually inaccurate, uninformed and misleading."

Nonetheless Barrios, who was at the helm of GLAAD for 23 months, only seemed to increase scrutiny with his attempts to deflect it. GLAAD has yet to release the statement to "address those accusations" described by Smith and others with regard to the merger, so it remains to be seen if Barrios will be positioned as the scapegoat, or if the board or the organization broadly will take responsibility for any inappropriate actions.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.