Several gay bloggers have taken issue with three letters sent to the Federal Communications Commission by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
First, there was concern about an unusual May 31 letter (tinyurl.com/3v5szoh) supporting the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile.
It said in part: "What our community wants in wireless phone and Internet service is exactly what Americans in general want: more access, faster service, and competitive pricing. On all three counts, we believe that the facts strongly favor the merger. ... The LGBT community has a longstanding commitment to all forms of social justice. That is why we look at the deployment of faster wireless Internet options not only from financial and technological viewpoints but also in terms of how this improves society."
The blogosphere didn't quite understand the rainbow connection and pointed out that AT&T is a GLAAD donor. The gay bloggers also reported that AT&T opposes so-called Net neutrality, a complex, hot-button issue related to Internet providers' control over some matters of content and speed. (See tinyurl.com/ls4qn for a detailed explanation.)
Next, additional GLAAD letters from 2009 and 2010, about Net neutrality, were found on the FCC's website, all signed by GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios.
The first letter seemed to support Net neutrality (tinyurl.com/barrios1), the second letter seemed to oppose Net neutrality, and the third letter asked the FCC to withdraw the second letter from the public record (tinyurl.com/barrios2-3).
In the third letter, Barrios said of the second letter: "The letter has been submitted under my name and title without my permission. The signature is not in my hand. I have never seen this letter and it is not my signature."
On June 8, however, Barrios acknowledged to Bilerico.com that the second letter had come from GLAAD, calling it "an administrative error" (tinyurl.com/barrios12).
A day later, on the Feast of Fun podcast, Barrios added that the administrative error was a "personnel issue" that had been "managed" (tinyurl.com/barrios13 at the 57-minute mark).
Then, a day later, June 10, Barrios acknowledged to Bilerico (tinyurl.com/barrios9) that the wording of the second letter had been provided to GLAAD by AT&T, that GLAAD had submitted AT&T's actual language to the FCC, and that he had OK'd sending a letter without reading it.
He did that, he said, because when his assistant reached him by phone at an airport, he thought she was saying GLAAD needed to refile its first (pro-Net-neutrality) letter with the FCC.
"When I realized she had inadvertently submitted an anti-Net-neutrality letter, I withdrew it," Barrios told Bilerico.
The matter has been covered online by, among others, Michelangelo Signorile (tinyurl.com/barrios4), Dan Savage (tinyurl.com/barrios5), John Aravosis (tinyurl.com/barrios6), Andy Towle (tinyurl.com/barrios7) and Bil Browning (tinyurl.com/barrios9).
Signorile has questioned whether Barrios' assistant was responsible for the anti-Net-neutrality letter, and said that Barrios "must resign" (tinyurl.com/barrios4).