GLAAD Responds To Stepping Out Of Bounds And Endorsing The AT&T/T-Mobile Merger

Yesterday Back2Stonewall.com and almost every LGBT blog and news service except for one *cough*JMG*cough* posted about GLAAD sending  a strongly worded letter to the FCC in support of the AT&T-T-Mobile merger coming just ONE WEEK AFTER the State of Tennessee put into law a harmful piece of anti-LGBT legislation that AT&T helped push through because of the fact that AT&T is not only a MAJOR Donor to GLAAD, but also one of’ AT&T’s past Vice President, External Affairs in  Los Angeles sits on the GLAAD Board of Directors.

Well since GLAAD could not respond to EVERY irate LGBT Blogger and Newspaper, GLAAD sent a nice  long statement to Querrty.com  (which you can read below) explaining, in a nutshell that they felt it their duty to support the merger because will make it easier for LGBT activists to communicate. And had nothing to do with the thousands upon thousands of dollars that AT&T donates to GLAAD every year.

This morning, Queerty asked ‘Why is GLAAD Supporting the AT&T and T-Mobile Merger?’ Unfortunately, they forgot to ask us first. For GLAAD, it’s about the results of the merger—an increase in phone functionality and speed. With better phone functionality, more people will be able to engage in social media and online LGBT advocacy.

Groups as diverse as the American Federation of Teachers, LULAC and the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce have spoken out in support of the AT&T/T-Mobile merger for a variety of reasons. Among the diverse views in support of the merger is Pride at Work, an LGBT contingency group of AFL-CIO, an organization affiliated with organized labor. They released a statement today detailing an angle that was not addressed in today’s earlier post about how this will impact LGBT workers.

The proposed AT&T / T-Mobile merger has significant impact for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers. AT&T is a union business with a good record on LGBT issues. In contrast, call center workers at T-Mobile have been fighting to form a union, but T-Mobile has been aggressively trying to stop them.

In a majority of states, workers can be legally fired or discriminated against based on their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Because of the lack of federal employment protections and the lack of relationship recognition, a union is often the only protection for LGBT workers – and the most powerful way to have a voice on the job. As the only union cell phone company, AT&T has a policy of neutrality & majority sign-up recognition – allowing workers to freely make their own decisions about forming a union.

“The fact is that T-Mobile was put up for sale by its German parent company,” said Shane Larson, Legislative Director for the Communications Workers of America and Pride at Work National Executive Board member.

“Only two companies were interested in buying T-Mobile: pro-union, pro-equality AT&T, and union-busting, jobs-outsourcing Sprint. For T-Mobile employees, the future is much brighter at a pro-union company like AT&T that enshrines LGBT equality in a legally enforceable union contract,” Larson concluded.

For thousands of T-Mobile workers – and the LGBT employees in particular — this merger will make the difference in whether or not they have the opportunity to negotiate for fair and equal working conditions. It will make the difference in the ability to negotiate for job security, domestic partner benefits, family, medical and bereavement leave and other workplace issues vital to LGBT and all workers.

GLAAD also stands behind the AFL-CIO and Pride at Work in believing that this merger will increase access to domestic partner benefits, family/medical/bereavement leave, and survivorship benefits to make life easier for thousands of LGBT employees.

As for Queerty’s commentary that GLAAD supports AT&T’s position on net neutrality, GLAAD does not – and has not- endorsed AT&T’s position on net neutrality. GLAAD believes that equal, fair and universal access to the Internet is vital to our community and to our national dialogue. While GLAAD does not take a position on particular legislation or regulations, we continue to believe in the importance of adhering to these values.

The notion that GLAAD does not demand action from corporate sponsors is entirely false, and we take these accusations extremely seriously. Like many other watchdog non-profits, we are in part funded by entities we monitor. More on our philosophy around protecting the integrity of our work is listed in our transparency statement on our site.

While today’s earlier post called attention to actions from years ago that Queerty disagreed with, the writer failed to inform readers of the very public instances when we have demanded – and received – action from our corporate sponsors, as recently as yesterday:

*  AT&T and Time Warner Cable pulled advertising after GLAAD and the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) asked advertisers to drop advertisements from Jose Luis Sin Censura, a Spanish-language talk show where the audience frequently chants the word f*ggot and violently assaults LGBT guests. This campaign is continuing.

*  After NBC received a ‘failing’ grade on GLAAD’s Network Responsibility Index, which measures the quantity and quality of LGBT characters, GLAAD wrote a highly critical letter about NBC/Comcast’s merger to the FCC.GLAAD placed a public call to action against CNN for repeatedly featuring anti-gay voices on the channel in the name of ‘balance’: www.glaad.org/tellcnn. Last year after GLAAD and community members demanded action, CNN’s Kyra Phillips debunked a myth about so-called “ex-gay” therapy put forth by a guest.

*  Last fall, GLAAD spoke out publically against an episode of MTV’s Jersey Shore that we described as “the most blatantly transphobic scenes aired anywhere on television”: MTV apologized and met with GLAAD to improve coverage of transgender people and edited the episode to remove the offensive material.

All of these media companies are sponsors of GLAAD.

While these stories may grab headlines, much of GLAAD’s core work is on-the-ground trainings with local couples and allies to speak out in their communities and share their stories with voters in states where our equality is being debated. We’ve worked with couples like Shelly and Kristin of Oregon as well as Carol and Anne from Rhode Island. It’s these images and stories that we need in the minds of Americans if we are to gain support for equality, and it’s this work that is more crucial than ever.

It is the GLAAD Media Awards and our corporate sponsors that fund these programs. In addition to being a fundraiser for this media work, the GLAAD Media Awards have become the most visible LGBT event in the nation and a platform for high-profile advocates to speak out for equality. This year videos of Russell Simmons and Rev. Al Sharpton speaking out for LGBT equality ran on Essence.com, and we worked with Naya Rivera of Glee to call for more transgender characters on television.

But we need the help of sites like Queerty and its readers to continue this work. When you see anti-LGBT content in the media, contact us at incident@glaad.org. It’s because of incident reports and community participation that we were able to recently take the anti-gay AFA to task when Bryan Fischer stated being gay was “as dangerous as injection drug use” and to work with country music singer Blake Shelton to send a message to his hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers that anti-gay violence is unacceptable.”

These are the stories and messages that GLAAD is all about and will continue to be about.

To learn more about GLAAD’s recent work, please visit our blog at www.glaad.org/blog.

Grab a shovel kids because the bullshit is neck deep in this one.

It’s very telling that GLAAD is not saying T-Mobile itself is not unionized but that it’s T-Mobile’s call center that isn’t. But what GLAAD leaves out is that the future of T-Mobile’s existing call centers remains uncertain in the merger and may lead to the firing of nearly 800 employees , some of which I assume are LGBT.
No mention of AT&T’s heinous backing of the Tennessee Anti-LGBT law, no explanation about the ex-AT&T Vice President of External Affairs sits on tGLAAD’s Board of Directors and his involvement, if any in it.  Just praise for their many yearly lame Media Awards, and the fact that they go after a few shows a yaer that say the word “fag”.  One would think considering that the whole point of GLAAD is to work with the Media they would try harder to keep hate groups and spokesmen from being portrayed as legitimate on Narional news programs and telling lies and doing major harm to people  instead of running after “Jersey Shore for saying the word “fag” 

And as for the much of GLAAD’s core work is on-the-ground trainings with local couples and allies to speak out in their communities and share their stories” Other than the fact that its news to me. WTF does that have to do with media?

So in reality kids to make a long story short The fact that GLAAD had to EXPLAIN their comments means that their original comments not only were not clear, but they most likely bullshit and still had nothing to do with Gay Rights

In other words, AT&T has shown them the money.

So don’t be surprised in the future if Exxon/Mobile ever donates to GLAAD that when they need help in congress over their excessive profits, even though the company refuses to extend its non-discrimination policy to include gays, lesbians and transsexuals that GLAAD will come out supporting them because after all they provide the gasoline for  our cars, which allows the LBGT community to go to work and earn money, thereby supporting our families.

The same insane logic that GLAAD is using above to cover its ass.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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