GLAAD Drops Support For AT&T Deal With T-Mobile After Activists Speak Up

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD,) reversed its support for AT&T’s proposed merger with T-Mobile Wednesday after its initial endorsement of the deal caused an uproar within its own community.

“A rigorous review process considered GLAAD’s unique mission and concluded that while AT&T has a strong record of support for the LGBT community, the explanation used to support this particular merger was not sufficiently consistent with GLAAD’s work to advocate for positive and culture-changing LGBT stories and images in the media,” said Mike Thompson, GLAAD’s Acting President in a Wednesday press statement.Thompson sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission Wednesday after an initial supportive May missive from his predecessor Jarrett Barrios.

That letter caused a firestorm of controversy within the activist community, members of whom believed that GLAAD had been bought off by AT&T’s charitable donations.

POLITICO reported early June that GLAAD had received $50,000 from AT&T. It also noted that many other non-profit groups supporting the merger had received money from the telecommunications company.

Barrios resigned late June after acknowledging the controversy sparked off by his letter in support of the merger.

GLAAD has been involved in other telecom and media issues. In the past, it’s supported net neutrality rules, and opposed the NBC-Comcast merger.

Though large companies, such as Microsoft and Facebook, and many in the venture capital community support the deal, the FCC has received 10,000 letters on the subject, many of which oppose it.

Some lawmakers have also expressed skepticism over the benefits of the deal for consumers, and several states have subpoenaed Sprint for more information on the subject.

Sprint has asked the FCC to block the merger.