By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com January 20 2012 5:09 PM ET
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation laid off nearly a quarter of its workforce today as it tries to regroup for the year ahead.
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.
Interim president Mike Thompson attributed the cuts in part to the problems GLAAD faced last year, when former president Jarret Barrios resigned amid controversy about whether GLAAD improperly backed a proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile.
"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."
When Thompson took over, he changed the group's position on the merger to neutral, and then backed Net neutrality efforts that AT&T had opposed. And Thompson told The Advocate that the group needed to ensure those watching that it had refocused efforts on what it's known for.
"We look forward to a stronger GLAAD, one that is focused on our mission and commitment to LGBT equality," he said today. "We believe the current structure will help us achieve those goals."