Jarrett Barrios Must Quit Being So Cagey About GLAAD’s Secretive Operations

One thing Gay Inc. groups are so often criticized for is their lack of transparency. Like when the Human Rights Campaign kept telling supporters last year it had worked out a “road map” to equality with Obama, but refused to tell anyone what it looked like. (And when HRC did share some details? They were vague and uninspiring.) And now GLAAD adds another float to the secrets parade, with chief Jarrett Barrios refusing to tell anyone how much he makes.

Barrios earns an estimated $200-250,000 a year at GLAAD, based on some napkin math, but not official figures. Taking over the gig in September, Barrios will say he lopped 10-15 percent off his predecessor Neil Giuliano’s salary, which also amounts to a pay cut from his previous gig as president of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, where he earned more than a half million dollars when health benefits are factored in. (Indeed, earning less sometimes happens when you go into non-profit!) But until GLAAD files its annual 990 tax form, required of 501(3)(c) groups, he’s keeping mum on how much GLAAD is paying him; supposedly it’s because the organization might reimburse him for expenses, and he doesn’t want to give a false figure until that’s finalized.

Which is a farce. Barrios has a contract, as any organization president does, stipulating how much is earned in base salary, what the benefits structure looks like, and even how much cash will be allowed for travel and per diem expenses. (Barrios says he takes the bus and flies coach.) These details can, and should, be made available to supporters. But they won’t be, because executive pay is often viewed as proprietary data — a phenomenon rooted in corporations, not non-profits.

But as the Bay Area Reporter notes, it’s more than salary about which GLAAD remains untalkative.

When it comes to the behind-the-scenes berating GLAAD does with Hollywood executives, news media professionals, or advertisers, Barrios deliberately picks and chooses which actions the agency has taken that are then revealed to its members and the public. Oftentimes GLAAD will not reveal its involvement with a particular anti-gay incident in the media because it has received a satisfactory response from the offending news outlet or entertainment property, explained Barrios.

“I think if we were an organization more focused on grandstanding about our impact, we might send out an e-mail every time we made a phone call to a network. But our job is to have an impact and that means having productive conversations with individuals,” he said. “When we don’t have change, we ask our members to take action. If we go to the well every time and ask people to call, e-mail, and write five times a day it would be like the boy who cried wolf. People won’t respond. “Even the most dedicated activists will lose interest,” he added. “They will just press delete.”

But there is a difference between oversaturation and transparency. GLAAD needn’t issue a press release every time it makes a move. But what about a blog post? A tweet? Just to tell donors and supporters what they’re working on? And to indicate what, in fact, they are not working on — which is a growing concern among GLAAD’s supporters, who see them playing bizarre games of criticism, often ignoring or going lighter on entertainment companies that underwrite a nice portion of what BAR says is an $8 million annual budget, while freely attacking those without deeper pockets to defend themselves.

Activist groups do not inspire trust and good will when they actively work — as Barrios is doing by dodging questions — to make their operations appear shadowy and secretive. Barrios isn’t refusing to name his salary because some anti-gay group could exploit that information. He refuses to disclose his salary because you might think he gets paid too much. And it’s a fool’s mistake to think that just because we’re talking about non-profits, money isn’t somehow a factor.

[BAR, Petrelis]

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  • AndrewW

    From the information I have seen Barrios is making about $800,000 with all benefits and travel expense accounts. It’s hard to piece it all together because like HRC, GLAAD has several “affiliates.”

    In 2008 GLAAD had $14 million in revenue, so I’m not sure where Queerty gets the $8 million budget number. I believe (including all affiliates) GLAAD received close to $20 million in 2009.

  • Jason

    He could buy Ricky Martin!

  • Xerxes

    I think taht his pay is a matter of public record, on GLAAD’s annual IRS return, form 990. It may even be available on the internet. At worst, it is available for $2 to the IRS.

  • Lanjier

    I have respect for GLAAD because they, unlike the elitist douchebags at HRC, respect and interact with the gay community. GLAAD has been responsive to criticism, and seem like they genuinely understand the need to learn from the community they serve. I think they really do get it, and I have seen them adjust their course. They don’t do anything as appalling as the HRC who degrade the gay community as “armchair activists.”

    I like Barrios, and hope he respects the need for reasonable executive salaries and expenses.

  • AndrewW

    @Xerxes: They have until May 15th to file their Form 990 and they can get extensions until November 15th if they want. Most charities file promptly to avoid any criticism.

    @Lanjier: Do we still need GLAAD policing the media? It seems the LGBT Media is doing a better job than GLAAD. They may have had a purpose, but they don’t really seem necessary unless they come up with something new to do.


    I don’t know much about them, but, it seems that with the growth of the internet, I have to wonder about non profits thay pay $800,000+ for media police.

  • Lanjier

    @AndrewW You know, I think you are right. There was a time circa 1982 when NBC would have say, as a fictional example, the “Dance of Dairy Fairy” segment on The Tonight Show. They didn’t know any better, and GLAAD would correct the problem. But today, people know exactly what they are doing thanks to all of the public education. GLAAD may have so successful they no longer need to exist. I volunteered there once, and all they had me do was to put together expensive gift baskets for the stars. The rewarded me with a Beverly Hills Hotel Towel!

    So yea, Andrew, this organization may still exist, but perhaps have to stand down some of their spending or start a new organization, maybe “Blow Jobs for the Stars!”

  • AndrewW

    @Lanjier: Haha, pick your “Star.”

  • AndrewW

    Per a friend that works at GLAAD (we spoke today) the salary is “around $450,000” plus benefits and travel expenses. He also said “his boyfriend may be getting paid, too.” Interesting.

    So, I stand by my earlier information that his “total compensation package” is around $800,000.

  • AndrewW

    Barrios said this about Ricky Martin today:

    “His decision to model this kind of openness and honesty can lead to greater acceptance for countless gay people in U.S, in Latin American and worldwide.”

    I guess one could expect as much of GLAAD, too.

  • alan brickman

    Glaad should just buy a mansion…and parade it up with his boyfriend…

  • jeffree

    GLAAD may have had a very useful purpose before the rise of the blogosphere, the twitterverse, etc., but their literature still lacks concrete/specific goals and targets. How can a donor or potential donor judge whether the $$ actually produce results. If I give $200 to my local foodbank, they can provide info on what that buys or how many people get helped.

    In for-profit orgs plan on “benefits” for most employees being equivalant to about 35% of the salary. (most of that goes for healthcare/401k, etc)
    For top execs expect benefits equalling 50% or more of salary.

    Since nonprofts do usually pay less, the benefits may vary but there’s no way the chief officers walk away with less that 45%.

  • ossurworld

    For Barrios to leave the Milk Train of the Massachusetts legislature to take this job, he must have seen a windfall.

  • Queert is obsessed with Jarret Barrios. ZZZ. (John From England)


    Hmm, that’s not that much money.

    Our guy at stonewall is on £1,million a year. Which is around now say $1.5 million?

    Whatever. You guys know how to get your kicks. And I think he think his boyfriend is his husband or does your ‘friend’ call his two sons, ‘adopted children’?


    Anyway, good stat Barrios at least Glaad seems a little more relevant and the logo is a good change!

  • Cam

    @No. 7 · Lanjier

    @No. 1 · AndrewW


    We have both disagreed strongly on some other posts, but totally agree on here. Glaad needs to have a set of guidlines where they do, or do not do something, the problem is, they say the work behind the scenes, but what that most often turns out to be is the watch dog group calls up the company and says “you did this, but if you make a nice donation to us, we’ll know that you really didn’t mean it.”

  • AndrewW

    Then Barrios and GLAAD should be more open and honest about their organization and his mysterious salary. It’s not hard.

  • rjp3

    This is what happens when you allow a movement to be TAKEN over by Ivy League elitists — they believe they are doing charity work when making hundreds of thousands of dollars — and think we should be grateful for the pay cut they are willing to take.

    Enough with the Liberal Elitists running ever progressive organization….

  • Sue Denym

    Maybe Barrios isn’t just worried about his salary seeming too large to outsiders: Barrios’ bloated salary is shameful when compared with the rest of the GLAAD staff, many of whom are far underpaid. Oh! Except for the other executives at GLAAD – they all earn 6 figures too ($150,000+).

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