This story about the influence exerted by telecom giant AT&T over LGBT non-profits continues to unfold and is very confusing. I have been reluctant to post any additional information – such as that six GLAAD board members resigned, presumably over the chaos – because I have been trying to get a handle on the complexity. In fact, a friend and a commenter pointed out some errors of understanding in my last post - for which I deeply apologize. The best explanation so far of what’s going on comes from Chris Geidner at MetroWeekly. Other sites on top of the scandal include The Washington Blade, The Bilerico Project, Politico and Michelangelo Signorile. I am now working on an analysis for Frontiers In LA that goes to press on Friday, so I hope you’ll bear with me.
However – that said – I would be remiss in not posting this important clarification from EQCA’s Interim Director Jim Carroll (see below), with whom I had an extensive interview this afternoon. Carroll and Communication Director Vaishalee Raja they’ve been trying to figure out what’s going on, too. The key point is that they have sent a follow up letter to the FCC withdrawing their previous letter, which Carroll said they had no idea could be construed as supporting AT&T’s opposition to net neutrality. Carroll said emphatically that EQCA supports net neutrality.
Here’s the email Carroll just sent out:
On behalf of Equality California I have sent the letter copied below to the FCC withdrawing our previous letter. As it says in the letter it was never our intention to oppose Net Neutrality.
And on behalf of myself I made an error in an interview yesterday with Chris Geidner in which I said that Equality California doesn’t have a policy with regard to our policy positions. In fact, there is a policy that allows the Executive Director to make decisions on policies that are core to the mission of Equality California. On issues that are outside of our core mission, such as support for our friends in labor or in the reproductive rights community, there is a policy that requires the board to weigh in if a board meeting is timely, or directs the matter to the Executive Committee. In the event of an urgent policy choice the ED can seek counsel from the Board President. I apologize for any confusion this might have created. I’ve only been Interim ED for 7 weeks!
June 22, 2011
The Honorable Julius Genachowski
Chairman, Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW, Room 8-B201
Washington, DC 20554
RE: Withdrawal of letter dated October 12, 2009 – Broadband Industry Practices (WC Docket No. 07-52)
Dear Chairman Genachowski and Commissioners:
On October 12, 2009, Equality California submitted a letter to the Commission urging the preservation of an “open and accessible Internet” and requesting an effort to reach out to the LGBT community. It has come to our attention that the phrase “open and accessible Internet” can be taken to indicate opposition to net neutrality, which was neither our intention nor our organization’s position. We fully support the principles of net neutrality.
Accordingly, we request that you withdraw our letter of October 12, 2009.
Very truly yours,
Interim Executive Director