“Roland Martin’s tweets were regrettable and offensive. Language that demeans is inconsistent with the values and culture of our organization, and is not tolerated. We have been giving careful consideration to this matter, and Roland will not be appearing on our air for the time being.”
That was the statement released by CNN, after political analyst Roland Martin was suspended for ridiculous, homophobic Tweets, kicked off by his reaction to this commercial that aired during the Super Bowl:
“If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl”
After watching the above ad, you have to wonder why it got Martin hot and bothered (enough to think about it possibly arousing a man) to unleash that self-protective Tweet. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) called for Martin to be fired, it launched a campaign to call attention to the talking head’s history of homophobia beyond 140 characters, including a defense of the anti-LGBT comments of Tracy Morgan hours after the comic had repudiated his own hateful words, and praise for Martin’s wife’s ex-gay therapy practice. On February 7, Martin posted an “apology“:
“To those who construed my comment as being anti-gay or homophobic or advancing violence, I’m truly sorry. I can certainly understand how someone could come to a different conclusion than the one I meant. I’m disheartened that my words would embolden prejudice. While public debate over social issues is healthy, no matter which side someone takes, there is no room for debate as to whether we need to be respectful of others.”
GLAAD issued this response to CNN’s decision:
“CNN today took a strong stand against anti-LGBT violence and language that demeans any community,” said Rich Ferraro, GLAAD spokesperson. “Yesterday, Martin also spoke out against anti-LGBT violence. We look forward to hearing from CNN and Roland Martin to discuss how we can work together as allies and achieve our common goal of reducing anti-LGBT violence as well as the language that contributes to it.”
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found that violence against LGBT people was up 23 percent last year. 70 percent of the victims murdered were people of color, and 44 percent were transgender women.
Some have insulted Martin’s personal character and race when discussing this issue. GLAAD strongly condemns these attacks. There is no excuse for race based attacks or hate speech.
An important aside – the fact that GLAAD had to make a statement alluding to attacks on Martin because of his race, or any other personal qualities (ostensibly referring to members of the LGBT community responding to his homophobia) raises a problematic issue – racism in the LGBT community. It’s there, and seems to pop up during incidents like this; it has no relevance to the discussion – Martin owns what he says, no one else. His blackness, or mine, speaking as someone who is black and part of the LGBT community as well, shouldn’t be an issue, but time and again, bigots in our community show their faces — and show just how little regard they hold for black members of the LGBT community who suffer discrimination on both sides of the fence.
On the flip side, I received emails and tweets in the wake of the dust up accusing GLAAD of “picking on” black homophobes more than white homophobes. Are we in kindergarten? I’m not keeping tabs on the demographics of who gets embarrassed by GLAAD for having their homophobia put out for all to see. How is tossing the race card out there a sane defense for Martin’s long history of comments that proves he has a problem with masculinity and gender issues that he expresses in homophobic ways? No one made him say what he did, pointing it out is not racist on its face.
A lot of people need to grow up on both sides of the fence. Homophobia and racism cannot be tolerated. They are two sides of the same coin.