Metro Weekly

Organizational (Mis)Steps

LGBT organizations' letters to the FCC supporting AT&T's regulatory goals raised flags from LGBT bloggers and other media

Earlier this year, when it was discovered that the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation had sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission in support of the then-proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile, heads turned.

Bloggers – including Andy Towle, Michelangelo Signorile, Pam Spaulding, John Aravosis and others – decided this was a cause worthy of taking on GLAAD and particularly the group’s then-president, Jarrett Barrios. As the story expanded, and questions were raised about another letter GLAAD had submitted – and then withdrawn – regarding net neutrality (that had taken AT&T’s position opposing proposed net-neutrality regulations), Barrios became the ”embattled” leader of the group and calls for his resignation began.

Then, on June 18, Barrios resigned – although it was several days before GLAAD’s board engaged with LGBT activists, bloggers or the media about the move.

Before Barrios resigned, however, the ties of Troup Coronado – an individual who had been AT&T’s vice president for external affairs and then left AT&T but remained a consultant – to GLAAD and other LGBT organizations began being scrutinized. As Metro Weekly detailed in its investigation, Coronado had extensive involvement with several LGBT organizations, including GLAAD, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and Equality California. All of those organizations, except HRC, submitted at least one letter to the FCC about net neutrality or the proposed AT&T merger after Coronado had requested that they do so.

Six months later, AT&T announced Dec. 19 that it was abandoning its merger attempt with T-Mobile.

Within LGBT politics, however, Coronado still is involved in some organizations. Although GLAAD, the Task Force and Equality California told Metro Weekly that Coronado has no more ties with their respective organizations, Coronado attended and was a ”silver sponsor” of the Spirit of Lincoln Awards Dinner held Sept. 20 by the Log Cabin Republicans. He also attended the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund’s Gay and Lesbian Leadership Awards held in D.C. in October, as well the organization’s International Gay & Lesbian Leadership Conference held in Houston earlier this month.

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