April 14, 2012 at 9:02 pm EDT | by Phil Reese
GLAAD elevates Herndon Graddick to President

Herndon Graddick (photo courtesy of GLAAD)

After the departure of former head Jarrett Barrios in June over questions regarding GLAAD’s involvement with AT&T attempting to convince the FCC to reverse course on what are known as “net neutrality” principles, as well as awkwardly weighing in on the failed AT&T/T-Mobile merger; the LGBT community’s media watchdog, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has named Herndon Graddick as its President.

After a 9-month long nation-wide search, GLAAD may surprise some with this internal hire. However, in recent months, Graddick has become increasingly visible at the organization that has seen a string of successful campaigns and rebuilt some of their lost goodwill in the community with, among others, campaigns to combat anti-gay tweets by CNN contributor Roland Martin, and convincing the Miss Universe pageant organization to welcome trans contestants, to battling homophobia in comedy with Tracy Morgan.

Current Vice President of Programs and Communications, Graddick has been in leadership at the organization since 2010.

The group’s press release follows:

GLAAD Board of Directors Announces New President Herndon Graddick

Los Angeles, CA, April 14, 2012 – The National Board of Directors of GLAAD, the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today elected the organization’s new president Herndon Graddick, following a nationwide search.

Sheri Fults, National Co-Chair of the Board of Directors, said in a statement: “Herndon Graddick is already a well-respected leader within the LGBT movement, and we believe will be a visionary and strategic leader for GLAAD’s culture-changing work.”

Search Committee Co-Chair, David Hedley, commented, on behalf of GLAAD’s National Board of Directors: “We want to first thank the volunteer Search Committee for their selfless service, and all the prospective presidential candidates for their interest and the investment each made in considering being of service to GLAAD.” Executive Search Recruiter Scott Miller volunteered his firm’s services pro bono to GLAAD to facilitate the search process.

“Right now GLAAD and our partners in the LGBT movement are making a significant difference at a time when a difference needs to be made,” said Herndon Graddick. “I look forward to working with our dedicated staff to create a culture where there is a welcoming and respected space for LGBT Americans. GLAAD’s work with the media to inspire Americans to speak out against anti-LGBT actions and support equality is needed today more than ever.”

Herndon Graddick is the current Vice President of Programs and Communications at GLAAD, a position he assumed in 2010. In his role, Graddick has lead GLAAD’s media initiatives and oversees the organization’s National & Local News; Entertainment; People of Color; Religion, Faith & Values; Advertising; and Spanish-Language Media programs. Under his leadership, GLAAD has engaged in numerous highly visible and impactful campaigns including ‘Stand Up For Ellen,’ which prompted the group One Million Moms – a project of the American Family Association – to end their call for J.C. Penney to fire Ellen DeGeneres as its new spokesperson because she is gay. Graddick also oversaw GLAAD’s work on the Commentator Accountability Project – an initiative launched in March to highlight the extreme rhetoric of anti-LGBT activists who currently appear in national news outlets. He is leading efforts with the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) on the “I AM: Trans People Speak” video series as well as with film director Brett Ratner to develop a series of videos with GLAAD featuring high-profile celebrities and public figures speaking out for LGBT equality. Graddick has also put resources behind GLAAD’s work to share stories of LGBT people of color and allies with African American media, sports media, and Spanish-language news outlets, among others.

Prior to his work at GLAAD, Graddick served as the Executive Producer of the Global Observatory, a media and communications effort which aimed to bring public awareness to the climate change crisis. He also served as Supervising Producer at E! Networks and the day-of-air news division director at CURRENT TV, the youth-oriented news and entertainment network created by former Vice President Al Gore. As a producer at CNN, Graddick also contributed to the creation of daily primetime programming such as “Paula Zahn Now,” “Anderson Cooper 360,” and “Live from the Headlines.”

The new president of GLAAD will be formally introduced at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on April 21, 2012.


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