June 15, 2011

AS THE WORLD TURNS - BROUGHT TO YOU BY GLAAD

HAVE REPUBLICAN OPERATIVES TAKEN OVER GLAAD?

Los Angeles, CA: Every year the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) holds award ceremonies in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, to recognize and honor the media for their fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives. I have long believed that many of these awards are deserved, and that the recipients were grateful for the recognition. 

As a result of these awards, and the advocacy work in the media, GLAAD has been our public face in the entertainment industry. 

GLAAD was in the news again over the last few days, as they are going to be facilitating rehab for Tracy Morgan, and his formal introduction to members of our community in Tennesee and New York, who have been victimized by homophobia and violence. I hope that these interactions will be private, and not played out in front of cameras, so that the images can be broadcast on Entertainment Tonight.

Individual and corporate donations play a key role in allowing GLAAD to continue it's work. According to GLAAD's website, this is their mission:

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) amplifies the voice of the LGBT community by empowering real people to share their stories, holding the media accountable for the words and images they present, and helping grassroots organizations communicate effectively. By ensuring that the stories of LGBT people are heard through the media, GLAAD promotes understanding, increases acceptance, and advances equality.”

While GLAAD holds Tracy Morgan's hands, and helps him rehabilitate his image, they continue to ignore the outcry from activists within the GLBTQ community that they no longer represent our interests, that the organization is ineffective, and the mismanagement within GLAAD is threateneing their existence. Laurie Perper, the former Co-chair of GLAAD, very publicly called for the organization to dissolve, because of mismanagement and improprieties.

Thenewcivilrightsmovement.com posted a discussion between columnists Tanya Domi and Clinton Fein, entitled Taking the Keys - And The Checkbook - Away from Gay Inc., where Domi states “They have been bleeding money since late 2008. They have lost nearly 14 board members and numerous staff members......and agreed to endorse the AT&T-T-Mobile merger, in exchange for backing by Troup Coronado, a board member and a former Vice President of Public Affairs with AT&T.”

In the same piece Fein says “The whole GLAAD AT&T-T-Mobile mess is unbelievable. Here you have an organization that is supposed to serve as a watchdog to identify and remedy negative portrayals or misrepresentations of gays in the media behaving in a way that brings shame and discredit on the very community it purports to represent. And further, gives fodder to those who have been reprimanded or called out by GLAAD, that their motives are more about self-enrichment than anything else.”

Jane Hamsher at firedoglake.com has uncovered that GLAAD Board member Troup Coronado, who was affiliated with the “Board of the Hispanic Alliance for Progress Institute (HAPI), where Coronado sat on the Policy Board. The Policy Board. According to People for the American Way, HAPI was an astroturf group that joined with other GOP outfits to form the  ”National Coalition To End Judicial Filibusters,” which supported the use of “the so-called ‘nuclear option” to eliminate Senator’s ability to filibuster against President George W. Bush’s right-wing judicial nominees.” And this successfully resulted in extremely right wing and anti-gay jurists being appointed to the federal bench.

Teddy Partridge at firedoglake.com details that the same Troup Coronado, a former Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) staffer, and Bell South lobbyist, padded expense reports – and cites that this was reported in the Washington Post in 2006.

Another Republican operative, and Bush supporter, in a prominent role at GLAAD, is current Co-Chair, Scott Miller. The same Scott Miller who was a long time Board member and chairman of the San Francisco based Academy of Friends, the charity that imploded and was unable to fulfill commitments made to bay area Aids/HIV organizations. The Bay Area Reporter said that the “Academy of Friends is backing out of paying more than $100,000 it owes to community partners. The agency appears to be broke and on the brink of collapse as it searches for a merger partner.”

Perhaps GLAAD needs a merger partner? Who does GLAAD answer to? In a letter posted on their web site last September, from the embattled President Jarret Barrios, trying to explain their financial mess, he said “we have another accountability--an accountability to you.” He says the organization had an operating deficit in 2009 of $1.200,000 – and claimed that the organization was working hard to decrease expenses. He said he cut his salary by 10% and eliminated 2 senior positions. There have been no updates recently regarding finances, and the only financial information posted on the website dates to 2009.

For an organization that purports to hold the media's feet to the fire, the heat is being turned up on GLAAD. Will they be able to put out the fire?

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