As I reported earlier this morning – as Jarrett Barrios’s resignation from GLAAD swirled in the headlines, the larger unexplored question is how many other organizations in the LGBT community were equally culpable in sending out a variant of the anti-Net Neutrality letter crafted by AT&T. Just a cursory search on the FCC web site turned up letters from Equality California and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
I just received this email with a statement from Rea Carey of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force related to its letter to the FCC re: Net Neutrality and AT&T:
Statement from Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:
“The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force submitted a letter to the Federal Communications Commission on Jan. 5, 2010, about rules and regulations regarding net neutrality. The letter was a response to a request by AT&T. However, we quickly realized that we had not gone through an appropriate internal process on such policy matters and that the Jan. 5 letter did not accurately reflect our views and was a mistake. As a result, on Jan. 14, the Task Force submitted an additional letter to the FCC clarifying the organization’s position on net neutrality. Both letters are attached.
“The Task Force has established a clearer internal review process that applies to any request for sign-on or policy endorsement from any group, organization or corporate partner. We have not issued any additional letters on net neutrality. Additionally the Task Force has declined requests from our corporate partner AT&T for further action regarding this issue and declined requests to write a letter regarding the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile.”
AT&T is also the biggest sponsor of Equality California. However, in a phone interview Monday morning, June 20, EQCA Interim Executive Director Jim Carroll told me that EQCA has “no position” on the merger of AT&T and did not send any letter supporting that merger. However, former executive director Geoff Kors, who is currently in Italy, did send a letter to the FCC “reflecting Equality California’s support for an open and accessible internet and asked the FCC to reach out to the LGBT community.”
As far as the current situation at GLAAD goes, this was the statement provided by board co-chair Roxanne Jones to Metro Weekly:
“The GLAAD Board received Jarrett’s resignation letter, and we discussed this, along with many other topics, on our call last night, so we expect at our board of directors meeting – we have another one set for Wednesday – to reach a conclusion on all of the issues at hand,” Jones said. “And at the time, Jarrett will begin to help us transition, manage the transition that we have, and bring on his successor.
“So, that’s exactly where we are right now.”
You see, the long view is that our organizations have been sloppy, and acting on behalf of the community while hopping in bed with corporations with money to burn that will have a negative impact on the community. This is a terrible development that needs sunlight on it – are boards doing their duty?