Adam Polaski

GLAAD Announces Acting President, Coronado's Resignation

Filed By Adam Polaski | June 23, 2011 10:15 AM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: AT&T, FCC filings, GLAAD, Jarrett Barrios, Mike Thompson, Troup Coronado

GLAAD.jpgThis morning GLAAD released a statement to address the resignation of president Jarrett Barrios and examine how the organization is putting "focus on [the] future." The release reiterates support for the outgoing Barrios, who resigned on Saturday; emphasizes that GLAAD does not endorse AT&T's anti-net neutrality position; and announces the resignation of Troup Coronado, the former AT&T lobbyist at the center of the current corporate mess.

An executive search committee is now being assembled to identify a new president for the organization. In the meantime, Mike Thompson, GLAAD's chief operating officer, will serve as acting president.

The statement comes as a response to the negative press that GLAAD has received in the last two weeks, when information surfaced about a letter GLAAD submitted to the FCC in January 2010 opposing net neutrality (If you're confused about net neutrality - and that's OK! - check out this video introduction). The letter, which Barrios had not written, read, or signed, turned out to be wholly drafted by AT&T. Then, just last month, GLAAD unnecessarily endorsed the AT&T/T-Mobile merger.

Troup Coronado previously worked for AT&T and was responsible for garnering LGBT support for the telecommunications merger. Coronado's resignation yesterday makes him the seventh GLAAD board member other than Barrios to resign this week, bringing the number of board members down to 22, including officers. The GLAAD release states that Coronado "resigned voluntarily, stating that he wanted 'to do what was in the best interest of GLAAD.'"

Earlier this week, The Washington Blade uncovered Coronado's previous work with the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation. In exchanges to The Bilerico Project yesterday, resigned board members Gary Bitner and Kelly Dermody said they were not aware of Coronado's work with the Heritage Foundation during their time with him on the board.

GLAAD's statement indicates that the board accepted Barrios' resignation on Saturday. Roxanne Jones and Scott E. Miller, co-chairs of the board, said the board did not ask Barrios to resign. Barrios' letter reads:

None of you have asked me to resign, and I have appreciated such confidence in me. 

I have been pained by the difficulties that have beset GLAAD over the last three weeks.  As you know, they concern GLAAD's endorsement of the AT&T / T-Mobile merger--and inaccurate but effective characterizations that suggest GLAAD has supported this merger because of our relationship with them as a corporate sponsor.  As many of you have observed to me, this entire situation is wrought with miscommunication and assumptions.  Be that as it may, I respect the function and responsibility of my position, and know this is the right course of action.

Of utmost concern and foremost in all of our minds must be the well-being of GLAAD.  The staff continues to work hard and does not deserve to work under a cloud, nor do they merit the distraction that it has become from our organization's fine brand.

Statements from new acting president of the organization Mike Thompson appear in the press release. Thompson said:

GLAAD is committed to our Transparency Statement and continuing to make policy decisions based on what's best for our community. ... This organization plays an important role in LGBT equality movement. We hold up the banner that words and images matter. I'm honored to work alongside the dedicated members of our staff, Board of Directors and Leadership Councils. We have a mind to make a difference and together, we'll do just that.

Catch up on the controversy with previous coverage from The Bilerico Project:

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It's about damn time Coronado exited. If he'd done it earlier, the press brouhaha would have likely quieted dramatically.