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NEW YORK -- The board of directors of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today announced their acceptance of President Jarrett Barrios’ resignation as well as several board members.
GLAAD's board said it will now assemble an executive search committee to identify a new president. The board also confirmed its commitment to maintaining a strong focus on its mission-related activities during this transition and has appointed Mike Thompson, chief operating officer, as acting president.
Barrios announced his resignation in an email to the board on Saturday, June 18. Here is the text:
"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.”
Board co-chairs Roxanne Jones and Scott E. Miller confirmed that the decision to resign was made on Barrios' personal accord and that he was not asked to resign by the board.
During his two-year tenure, the board said, Barrios assembled a staff dedicated to changing our culture and improving the lives of LGBT Americans through the media.
Under Barrios’ leadership:
-- GLAAD expanded its on-the-ground work to more states than ever. Media Field Strategists assist local LGBT organizations by providing messaging and communications work. This year, in states including Alaska, California, Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, New York and Oregon, GLAAD’s team trained LGBT people and allies how to speak out and build support for equality.
-- GLAAD’s Spanish-Language Media Program broadened its scope to speak out against defamation in the media, including the violently anti-LGBT talk show Jose Luis Sin Censura. As this campaign continues, more and more Spanish-language broadcasters are coming to understand that assaulting LGBT people in the name of ‘entertainment’ will not only result in GLAAD calls to action, but will also lead to GLAAD working to ensure that advertisers withdraw support.
-- GLAAD’s increased its efforts in Hollywood to push the industry for diverse and positive images of our community -- whether it was meeting with NBC following an anti-transgender segment on" Saturday Night Live" or helping to advocate NBC to speak out after Tracy Morgan’s anti-gay remarks.
“While media often focus on GLAAD’s high-profile efforts, it is GLAAD’s work on the ground and behind-the-scenes that is needed today more than ever,” Thompson said. “GLAAD’s strong track record and ability to move our culture is a result of Jarrett’s and the staff’s commitment and leadership, and that staff commitment will continue as we move forward.”
The board of directors, earlier this week, accepted the resignation of several members: Gary Bitner, Jocelyn Bramble, Kelly Dermody, Humberto Mata, Michael Nutt, James Walker and Randi Weingarten. On Wednesday, the board also accepted the resignation of member Troup Coronado. He resigned voluntarily, stating that he wanted "to do what was in the best interest of GLAAD."
The board now has 22 members.
“Under Jarrett’s tenure, he has put together a staff leadership team that is among the strongest in the movement,” said Roxanne Jones, co-chair of the board. “I’m confident that our current Board and staff are committed to executing our programmatic goals and reaching new heights.”
The board said it embraces its role to support and steer GLAAD’s work, and its Leadership Council volunteer program continues its expansion into new states. "Moving forward, we will be working extremely hard to instill continued confidence from our donors through our vital programmatic work," Miller said.
“GLAAD is committed to our Transparency Statement and continuing to make policy decisions based on what's best for our community,” Thompson said.
The board stressed that it has been inaccurately reported that GLAAD endorses AT&T's position on net neutrality. The organization does not endorse AT&T’s position. GLAAD believes that equal, fair and universal access to the Internet is vital to our community and to our national dialogue. While GLAAD does not take a position on particular legislation or regulations at this time, the board said it continues to believe in the importance of adhering to these values.
As GLAAD moves forward, the organization vows to train more local individuals and groups on how to speak out and raise public support for equality. While homophobia in the media continues and anti-gay activists promote misinformation about our lives, GLAAD will continue to be the leading voice in increasing understanding and support of LGBT Americans.
“This organization plays an important role in LGBT equality movement. We hold up the banner that words and images matter,” Thompson said. “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.”
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. For more information, please visit glaad.org, Facebook and Twitter.
Editor's note: GLAAD is one of SDGLN's media partners.