June 9, 2011

GLAAD MYSTERY THEATER: WE ARE SHORT OF CASH, MISMANAGED, AND FOR SALE!


Former Board Member Accuses GLAAD of mismanagement, malfeasance, and trading favors

Los Angeles, CA: On June 3, 2011 The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) issued a press release to address concerns expressed in blog posts and news outlets, that GLAAD was selling out our community, and abandoning support for net neutrality, for the corporate sponsorship dollars AT&T provides. The tone of the press release was defensive, and biting, not diplomatic or full of facts, with an illogical explanation for their decision.

I was crushed when I learned AT&T was going to merge with T-Mobile. I've been a T-Mobile customer for 6 years, and have never had any problems with the coverage, dropped calls, or customer service. T-Mobile consistently provides you with value, and you get more for less. I chose T-mobile when I left Cingular/AT&T because there was no customer service at all.

Many weeks later I heard a rumor that GLAAD would be  expressing support for the AT&T merger. I thought what does this have to do with GLAAD's mission? It's bad business, for an advocacy group promoting equal rights, to support a deal where thousands of people are going to be out of work. Hellooooo!

The same day, I heard about HRC's endorsement of President Obama in 2012, and I thought "some gay political groups have lost their mind. It's early and there's still work to be done. Who do they represent these days?"

The terrific Michael Signorile Show had former GLAAD Co-chair Laurie Perper as a guest on Wednesday, and she described ongoing chaos and disorganization within GLAAD, and stated the organization was being mismanaged by President Jarrett Barrios, and alleged more than a dozen key employees had resigned, due to the absence of effective leadership. Laurie called on GLAAD to dissolve! She also alleged that GLAAD and their favorite corporate sponsor were "trading favors," which resulted in a fundraising disaster reducing the levels of income enjoyed in the past.

Jarrett Barrios, the GLAAD President, was notified that he would have equal time today on the Michael Signorile Show, to respond to the Co-chair's accusations. Jarrett showed up to the interview with Gary Bitner, a GLAAD Board Member and the head of a public relations firm in Florida. Bitner was told he was not invited to be a guest. Barrios bolted when Bitner was barred.

 
Subsequently, Jarrett Barrios, Gary Bitner, and Rich Ferraro (Official Spokesman/P.R. guy) spoke via telephone to Adam Polaski at bilerico.com.

Ferraro said the board didn't want Barrios saying that the "board supports me." That's a ringing endorsement isn't it! It is also being reported that Gary Bitner said they were going to appear on Michael's show together, but Michael wanted Barrios exclusively and "but for the issues that would have obviously come up, Jarrett wouldn't have been qualified to answer those questions." Yowza!

GLAAD issued a press release responding to Laurie Perper's "false information." It says in part that the Co-chair's comments were a "distortion of the truth". It goes further stating that GLAAD's "financial condition has improved significantly", has "dynamic leaders," and has achieved outstanding results advancing equality.

This press release also purports that in 2010 gross revenues were up significantly, while expenses were reduced, resulting in an "increase in net revenues." Great! Except that.........you have said nothing. What about Receivables? Assets? Liabilities? The numbers you cited cannot be used to measure the financial health of any entity.

As one cannot draw any conclusions from what GLAAD has provided so far, except that everyone is pissed off, I have to call GLAAD out on those revenue and expense figures. If you are sincere about maintaining a high profile, and remain committed to advancing equality, you will be transparent in everything you do. I would think you would post your complete financial statements, on a monthly basis on your website, including a proper P&L, Income Statement, and Balance Sheet. That will eliminate speculation, rumors, and misinformation.

Your organization's response to Laurie Perper's charges was that she distorted the truth, her numbers were wrong, and that GLAAD is better today than when she was there, are bitchy at best. Through innuendo you try to malign her character by revealing that she didn't serve a full term. So what? Your statements related to Ms. Perper in your press release, are more suited to a pre-school environment, and reflects poorly on a professional organization devoted to GLBTQ civil rights. Please find a way to answer these allegations, and I hope you will do it as quickly as possible.

I wonder if this a smoking gun? The GLAAD President wrote a letter to the FCC dated January 15, 2010, alleging that a letter was sent to the FCC dated January 4th, 2010 expressing support for net neutrality, from GLAAD, and signed by Barrios, was a forgery. He claimed that letter was sent without his knowledge, and he wants to withdraw the letter from the public record. This looks bad from any angle.


The biggest supporter of putting caps on data, and throttling access to the internet, is none other than AT&T, who wants the FCC to approve their merger. I don't even want to speculate about what all of this could entail, because in my mind I keep coming back to the same conclusion, and it isn't nice. Man this makes me feel sad.


GLAAD will have to go beyond the spin doctoring in a Press Release in order to convince donors, supporters, and the LGBTQ community that we should continue to support them . An independent financial audit, published online within 30 days, would be a great place to start.

GLAAD has a long proud history, and your list of accomplishments are significant. The world, our country, and the LGBTQ community, is a more tolerant and inclusive space thanks to your hard work. This fight for equality is eternal and requires your leadership and counsel. Work this out and make us proud!

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