Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Advocacy group abruptly closes, dismisses director

Mike Wilke, the man behind Commercial Closet Association, an association that promotes positive images of gays in advertising, is out of work after being dismissed and his organization abruptly shut down.

Wilke, founder and former executive director of the Commercial Closet Association, said the organization’s board voted two weeks ago to close and merge with the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

Commercial Closet Association is a New York City based non-profit organization, founded in 2001, to educate and influence the $1.1 trillion annual worldwide advertising market ($128 billion in the US alone) to foster understanding, respect and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people to achieve a more accepting society and successful business results.

Wilke, who started the Commercial Closet Association in 2001, said the shutdown left him unemployed and the organization’s other full-time employee to work part time. Wilke said as part of the planned merger with GLAAD, he was formally offered and had accepted a program director position.

But he said amidst the Commercial Closet Association shutdown, he’s been unable after a week of attempts to confirm with GLAAD President Neil Giuliano that the employment offer stands.

The Commercial Closet Association announced in a Tuesday press release that it would integrate its programs and operations with GLAAD, which promotes positive images of gays in media.


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