Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

Support for AT&T’s T-Mobile Deal May Have Cost GLAAD President His Job

The head of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation reportedly agreed to resign over the weekend following a backlash over GLAAD’s move to back AT&T’s planned $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile USA.

Jarrett Barrios had submitted a letter of resignation, according to reports on Politico and other Web sites, but it was unclear whether the board had accepted it as of Sunday night. Neither Barrios nor a GLAAD spokesman were immediately available for comment.

GLAAD supporters and others in the LGBT community have questioned what motivation the group had for supporting the deal, other than the fact that AT&T has been a significant donor to the organization.

The group supported the merger in a May 31 letter to the Federal Communications Commission, in which Barrios argued that the merger would help speed broadband deployment, benefiting “healthcare, education, the arts and the overall economy.”

GLAAD had also submitted a letter taking up AT&T’s position against net neutrality, though it later asked that it be withdrawn, saying the letter had been drafted without its involvement. In a June 3 statement, GLAAD said it supported many of the principles of net neutrality and also defended its reasons for backing the AT&T-T-Mobile deal.

AT&T’s bid has drawn backing from a range of nonprofits, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Education Association, as well as tech companies and venture capital firms. The NAACP has also defended its merger position against charges that it was based on AT&T’s status as a donor as opposed to organizational principles.

Opposition, meanwhile, has come largely from Sprint and some smaller carriers, along with a smattering of consumer groups.

The deal requires the approval of the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice.

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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”