On Jan. 27, The Advocate reported that major layoffs had occurred at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, a fact confirmed by the organization to Metro Weekly.
The nonprofit organization, whose aim is "empowering real people to share their stories, holding the media accountable for the words and images they present, and helping grassroots organizations communicate effectively," confirmed that it cut 11 people from its staff of 45.
In a statement, GLAAD acting president Mike Thompson said, "It's no secret that GLAAD experienced some real challenges in 2011. While the changes that took place subsequent to last summer's tumult were in many ways healthy for the organization, the reality is that the experience had financial impacts for the organization."
Thompson was referring to questions about the organization's relationship with AT&T, a contributor to the organization for whom GLAAD had taken the company's position before the Federal Communications Commission on two issues: net neutrality and the company's proposed merger with T-Mobile. GLAAD has since reversed course on both issues and was not alone in taking AT&T's position before the agency, but early attention focused on GLAAD and resulted in the resignation of its then-president Jarrett Barrios.
Of the layoffs, Thompson added, "Our restructuring is reflective of that, though our core programs work in National and Local News, Religion, Faith & Values, Entertainment Media and Spanish-Language Media remain intact. We look forward to a stronger GLAAD, one that is focused on our mission and commitment to LGBT equality. We believe the current structure will help us achieve those goals."
[UPDATE @ 5P: GLAAD communications director Rich Ferraro responded to a request from Metro Weekly about the status of the seach for a president for the organization, writing, "The Search Committee of the Board of Directors is in the process of reviewing and interviewing candidates to find the best person to serve the organization and its mission."
He added that "they have not put a date on when a new President will be announced."]