GLAAD President Jarrett Berrios resigns after AT&T controversy

Sun. June 19, 2011 6:38 AM by News Staff

jarrett barrios

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New York City - Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation President Jarrett Berrios resigned this weekend amid sharp criticism from the group's endorsement of the AT&T/T-Mobile mega merger.

Politico reported on Saturday that a source said that the executive committee of GLAAD voted in favor of removing Barrios, who refused to resign. Later, Politico reported receiving an email from a GLAAD spokewoman that said Barrios had agreed to step down.

Sirius-XM Radio host Michael Signorile also reported Barrios submitted a letter of resignation on Saturday evening.

The controversy began when GLAAD sent out a press release endorsing the merger of AT&T/T-Mobile, which left many bloggers and community activists concerned. Also at question was GLAAD's letter to the FCC opposing net neutrally, which was later withdrawn.

Bloggers immediately speculated that GLAAD's good will was being bought by corporations, a charge Barrios, who was at the helm of GLAAD for 23 months, angrily denied in another press release on June 3: "This morning reports ran regarding GLAAD's position on a merger between AT&T and T-Mobile and put forth false accusations that GLAAD is unable to effectively work with media entities that we also receive corporate sponsorships from."

At the time, GLAAD also pointed out that other groups including the AFL-CIO had also endorsed the merger.

GLAAD reportedly received $50,000 from AT&T to back the merger.

Barrios joined GLAAD in September 2009 after serving nine years in the Massachusetts legislature, where he was the first Latino and first openly gay man elected to the state Senate.

GLAAD, which was founded in 1985 as a grassroots action network, has become the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization.