GLAAD Lays Off Almost A Quarter Of Employees (UPDATED)

Picture 35The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation laid off 11 of its 45 employees last week. From The Advocate:

The cuts come against the backdrop of an economy that still has not fully recovered, and nonprofits everywhere continue to face fund-raising challenges. But employees said they didn't see the changes coming.

GLAAD cut 11 people from its staff of 45, and a statement from the group assured that "core programs" remain intact, including National and Local News; Religion, Faith & Values; Entertainment Media; and Spanish-Language Media.

Mike Thompson, GLAAD's interim leader, blames the organization's cash shortfall on last summer's weirdness, which led to the departure of GLAAD's president Jarrett T. Barrios: 

"It's no secret that GLAAD experienced some real challenges in 2011," Thompson said in a statement to The Advocate. "While the changes that took place subsequent to last summer's tumult were in many ways healthy for the organization, the reality is that the experience had financial impacts for the organization. Our restructuring is reflective of that."

UPDATE: This article originally conflated several different letters sent (or, in one case, apparently not sent) by Jarrett Barrios. References to the letters have been removed for simplicity's sake, but you can read all about them here.


  1. says

    If the gay community wants support and representation they must step forth and fund it. You know NOM and the many other hate groups are reading this layoff news with total joy and self-righteousness. These job losses empower the GOP and the Christian zealots. And GLADD too must reach out, must make it known they could use funding as well as the other gay organizations. If you haven’t an extra buck them volunteer the time – these are the people who step out in the front lines for us, for you, and we need to be there for them.

  2. Angela Channing says

    While I don’t like hearing of job losses, I cannot help but think how much of this organization was built on the media awards and other trivial events. Somehow GLAAD lost focus of its mission, especially with the ATT and T-Mobile debacle. Of all of the national LGBT organizations, this one seemed the most disconnected.

  3. QJ201 says

    What the hell does GLAAD do?

    Sends out press releases.
    Holds parties.
    Gives awards.
    Kisses Hollywood Ass.

    And on the last note: GLAAD seems to think the “Against Defamation” part only applies to Movies, TV, and music.

    Has GLAAD gone after any of the political or religious folks who make completely untrue statements about gay people?


  4. James says

    This is what happens when a gay group decides to spend a lot of its time and energy catering to transsexual activists – folks who are mostly non-gay, are few in number, and who give no money and don’t volunteer.

    Gay people, believe it or not, are primarily interested in exposing and fighting anti-gay defamation. If GLAAD wants to be the group whose greatest achievement in 2011 was to attack Neil Patrick Harris for a single joking reference to the word “tranny,” then they can do so without gay money. Hopefully, the remaining 75% of the staff is next to go. Maybe the trans activists can get them jobs.

  5. Andalusian Dog says


    Your rant seems less about GLAAD than it does about a deep-down hatred of trans people. The latter may or may not be true, it’s just how it seems based on your words.

    That being said, you are also wrong. I have trans friends who have volunteered for many organizations in the community, including friends who have volunteered for GLAAD and did very good work. I myself volunteered with GLAAD for several years, ultimately deciding to discontinue my service because of the organization’s many, many problems, primarily what seemed to me to be a lack of willingness to do important work and instead throw parties (as has been noted repeatedly).

    In short, GLAAD’s problems are not trans-related, they are celebrity/party culture related. The trans thing is a red herring, and again it seems just hateful, not to mention short-sighted.

  6. Jim says

    Call me crazy, but — isn’t the point of fundraising events like the gladd awards to… raise money? Spending money on fundraising events raises money for organizations. It’s true for any non-profit. So how is spending money on fundraising events that raise money….wasting money?

  7. says

    Lay off the other employees and shut the f*cker down! GLAAD kissing up to the producers of “30 Rock” as they play the Tracy Morgan incident for cheap laughs . . . that was the last straw for me. Co-founder Vito Russo must be spinning ’round in his grave!

  8. cranky1 says

    I wonder how those employees feel about the thousands spent on full page ads protesting a ridiculous TV program that had nothing to do with gay people?

  9. Domino S says

    Stuffed Animal: Your remarks here and at your blog are very critical of GLAAD, Dan Savage, The Advocate and others in the LGBT movement. Why don’t you allow comments at your so-called “blog”? Why do you comment at Towleroad and refuse to allow comments at your own site?

    Oh and your blog is quite obscene and porn-obsessed. Your comments about S&M and “T*TTY TORTURE” are lewd and snide. And I suspect a good many Gay men would say the same thing.

  10. MichaelJ says

    @Jim: Your not crazy to think that non-profits spending money on fundraising events is rational. But when so much of any group’s money is spent on events to simply raise more money for itself and not on the actual programs or activities related to the organization’s mission, there is something fundamentally wrong. This is why one of the criterion used to evaluate the effectiveness of charities and other non-profits is the percentage of the organization’s spending in programs, as opposed to administration and fundraising, with a higher percentage in and of itself being a good thing.
    I don’t know how GLAAD compares to other gay activist organizations, but as others have stated my sense is that an awful lot of its time, energy and money go into fundraising. This and the fact that so many of GLAAD’s campaigns strike me as trivial is why I’ve never been a supporter.
    That said, I do think it is a problem that many gay people don’t support political organizations working in their favor to the same extent that the homophobes support their groups, such as NOM, and most anyone that has anything to do with the Republican Party.

  11. Bobby says

    Make cuts but keep intact the Spanish-Language Media division? Oh, please. What about Asian-Language Media…or French-Language Media…or Italian-Language Media?

  12. Chad Johnson says

    As I noted on the advocate/facebook blog, like most (I hope) others, I wish GLAAD and Mike Thompson well. While only the insiders of insiders on GLAAD’s staff really know the accuracy of the statement that GLAAD’s recent layoffs are a result of the confused, complicated, and organizationally-poor handling of the net neutrality / ATT / FCC matter in 2011, it doesn’t seem like a justifiable assertion from my perspective. It may be one of twenty reasons. Non-profits are having it very rough across the board as a simple consequence of the growing but less-than-robust economy and the great uncertainty among economic players worldwide. In addition, when then-president Jarrett Barrios resigned to stop additional criticism of GLAAD during an unfairly GLAAD-focused phenomenon regarding the net neutrality matter, an entire group of GLAAD board members left GLAAD with their contacts and resources, as they supported Barrios and/or felt GLAAD’s board and others were making Barrios the fall guy. So this is a very complex economic and political matter that I think should not be used as a simple and exclusive excuse like that attributed to Mike Thompson, as it’s incomplete, to say the least. Then again, Thompson may have been edited to this short and simplistic, and therefore misleading, single statement. I for one will be making a contribution to GLAAD to help on a very small scale with their apparent financial crisis. I hope with the strengthening economy, GLAAD and other worthwhile non-profits do gain a stronger foundation. It’s just not surprising, albeit unfortunate and sad, that people lose their jobs in the non-profit sector in these times. But rather than pointing of out seemingly self-serving blame and doing it in a simplistic fashion, I hope the future shows me that GLAAD and its leadership will look to solving the problem rather than spinning the past — if that is what has happened here. Again, without knowing the context of Thompson’s statement to the Advocate (and maybe the whole thing is out there and I just don’t see it), I can’t be fair in serious criticism beyond providing some so-far-unsaid context and conditional criticism.

  13. FunMe says

    It sad to see this happening to a long-standing organization like GLAAD. Maybe, just like HRC, they didn’t change with the times. Sure they did a lot of work in the entertainment industry, but as QJ201 mentioned, they should open up to fighting homophobia in other areas, especially POLITICS. I mean seriously, how do the politicians get away with saying all the s*** they have been saying about gays if we allow them to continue to spill hatred and bigotry? Can you imagine if politicians were saying the things they say about gays to blacks instead? The NAACP would be all over it and demand apologies.

    I really hope GLAAD recharges and find this opportunity to regroup and start again as I feel they do have a place in the GLBT community. I don’t know what the % they spend on social events versus what actually goes to the work they do (I think that’s available publicly somewhere, right?), but if they focus more on the outreach and fighting back homophobia, they would get more contributions. I think money going to GLAAD is better spent than on HRC.

    I wish GLAAD the best in regrouping.