Bil Browning

GLAAD Cuts Staff After AT&T Scandal Fundraising Fallout

Filed By Bil Browning | January 23, 2012 10:45 AM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: AT&T, fundraising challenges, GLAAD, Jarrett Barrios, organization budget, staff layoffs

It appears that former GLAAD Executive Director Jarrett Barrios' AT&T scandal has caught up with the organization's fundraising abilities. The not-for-profit announced Thumbnail image for GLAADAT&T.jpglate last week that they were cutting 11 out of 45 positions.

Interim president Mike Thompson attributed the cuts in part to the problems GLAAD faced last year, when former president Jarret Barrios resigned amid controversy about whether GLAAD improperly backed a proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile.

"It's no secret that GLAAD experienced some real challenges in 2011," Thompson said in a statement to The Advocate. "While the changes that took place subsequent to last summer's tumult were in many ways healthy for the organization, the reality is that the experience had financial impacts for the organization. Our restructuring is reflective of that."

Barrios was forced to resign after he authorized a letter sent to the FCC on behalf of telecom giant AT&T opposing net neutrality. Barrios withdrew the letter and first denied all knowledge of the letter, then blamed a low-level employee for the "mistake." In reality, Barrios was covering up for a longtime friend and advisor who sent the letter - already prewritten by AT&T - at the company's request. Later Barrios submitted another letter to advocate for a proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile. A large corporate sponsor of GLAAD, one of GLAAD's board members was a lobbyist for the company. The board member, Troup Coronado, has also since resigned after several other board members resigned over the group's failure to uphold its conflict of interest standards. Thompson withdrew the letter in support of the merger as one of his first duties upon becoming interim ED.

Sadly, none of these staffers had anything to do with Barrios' actions and many of them privately expressed their disappointment in the former leader's failure to step aside when the controversy first raised its head and laid the terminations directly at his feet. A lot of good people lost their jobs last week; Barrios has since taken a well-paying job as a regional director at the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts.

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