The background is, immediately after a particularly provocative commercial that featured soccer star David Beckham in his underwear, CNN contributor Roland Martin tweeted:
I found his behavior on Sunday abhorrent, clearly. I found both is "apologies" lacking. Although his second try was better than his first, it did included a regrettable "sorry if you were offended, you misunderstood" narrative. Martin continued to cling to the laughable facade that his comments were directed at soccer fans, not gays, and he was just "misunderstood."
He also said:
My conviction has always been to speak progressively on issues confronting this country, and I will continue to do so.It's odd that he considers himself a progressive voice for change. Martin's "progressive" values have always had an *asterisk (*not applicable to LGBT people). As Michelangelo Signorile put it at Huffington Post, "Roland Martin's History on Gays Says It All."
In the past Martin has used his progressive voice to rally support for Tracy Morgan after his homophobic rant, rushing to the defense of Miss "Opposite marriage" Carrie Prejean's, and calling for gay and lesbian people to use prayer to live chaste lives.
Apparently CNN didn't buy Martin's apology or think his tweets were all in good fun. They found Martin's tweets "regrettable" and "offensive" and "demeaning."
Erik Stemple of the Washington Post is reporting that CNN has given Martin a little time to think about what he did. A statement attributed to CNN reads:
“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.”I hope rather than dwell in anger and resentment at his martyrdom, Mr. Martin looks inside himself and considers why he keeps finding himself consistently in these dustups with fellow progressives in the coalition that he counts himself as a member.
Thanks to CNN for listening to the many people who were shocked and offended, and demonstrating respect for your viewers and LGBT people.
Update: Statement from GLAAD, the LGBT organization that led the action asking CNN to address this.
"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."Apparently CNN has not contacted GLAAD since Sunday.
Update: Wednesday Roland Martin posted to his personal blog: Victim In Anti-Gay Video Beating Speaks Out.
“If a straight person can walk to the store, I should be able to do the same thing,” he said. “I could have died that day. They are monsters.”And also to his Facebook page and elsewhere.
I imagine there may be those who would interpret the move cynically. I chose not to do so. I'm glad he's using the perch of his fame and notoriety to educate his fans and followers about the ugly consequences of hate. It was a solid move. Thank you.