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Does Starting an Online Petition to Fight Buju Banton Qualify as GLAAD’s Activism?


The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, whose entire strategy for the years 2009-13 fits on a single page and includes no specifics, has launched an online petition to fight the Grammy nomination of Buju Banton. As we best understand it, GLAAD’s Jarrett Barrios — whose salary appears to remain unkown — wants the Recording Academy to pull a Milli Vanilli and withdraw any recognition of the anti-gay reggae artist.

GLAAD, which counts 15,000 “contributing members,” has posted the petition here through, and has seen its efforts retweeted just 55 times.


More significantly, after email blasting a link to the petition, GLAAD has seen just 427 people sign their names to it– and there’s a goal of just 1,000 names. (For the record, that’s a goal of getting just 6.66 percent of its active donation roster to fill out a web form.)

Meanwhile, a petition to save something called “Rabbit Residence Rescue” — yes, a facility to save rabbits — started by a guy with an address, has racked up 587 signatures.

UPDATE: The Recording Academy responds:

The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Awards have a long history of supporting freedom of speech and creative expression, and of supporting artists and the music they create. Artists of a variety of political or cultural perspectives have been nominated or featured on the telecast, despite protests and backlash. The Academy acknowledges that there are very strong and diverse opinions on many issues and in many instances, we have helped initiate dialogue on matters that require education and further discussion. It takes tolerance to teach tolerance, and it is through dialogue and debate that social discovery may occur. The GRAMMY Awards is a celebration and recognition of outstanding musical achievement by music makers, regardless of politics, and that will continue to be our mission.

GLAAD responds:

“While we appreciate the Recording Academy issuing a response, we firmly disagree with their justification for nominating Buju Banton for a Grammmy Award,” said Jarrett Barrios, President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). “Advocating the murder of gay people is not a ‘political or cultural perspective.’ We urge Recording Academy members NOT to support Buju Banton’s nomination. Ignoring his continued promotion of brutality against gay people sends a message that violence against our community is OK.”