CNN suspended political commentator Roland Martin Wednesday, a day after the pundit apologized to anyone who may have “construed” his Super Bowl night tweets about an underwear ad as being aimed at the gay community.
In a statement, CNN said, “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.”
During Sunday’s Super Bowl, Martin tweeted, “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,” as well as “Who the hell was that New England Patriot they just showed in a head to toe pink suit? Oh, he needs a visit from #teamwhipdatass.”
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation assailed Martin and called on CNN to fire him.
“At a time when anti-gay violence is something suffered by LGBT people and those perceived as LGBT people in this country every day, prominent figures like Martin should condemn, not promote, such violence,” GLAAD responded to Martin in a statement. GLAAD has created a hub for information about the dust-up.
GLAAD and the National Black Justice Coalition have called on Martin and CNN to take steps to combat the sort of anti-LGBT violence that the organizations say Martin’s tweets promote.
Last year, Martin — who once advocated for “ex-gay” therapy in response to Rev. Al Sharpton’s call for unity between LGBT and African-American communities — defended violent, anti-gay jokes by comedian Tracy Morgan, who said he would “take out a knife and stab” his son if he were gay. Morgan later apologized for the joke and worked with GLAAD to address violence that gay and lesbian people face, a scenario later lampooned tactfully on his NBC sitcom ’30 Rock’ last month.
GLAAD noted that not a day after Martin’s tweets, a video appeared of a young man being brutally assaulted and called anti-gay epithets. The Blade linked to the extremely disturbing video of that assault on Tuesday.
“This is what ‘smacking the ish’ out of someone for being gay can look like,” GLAAD commented.
“The time has come for Roland Martin to put actions behind his words,” GLAAD wrote. “We call on him to meet with GLAAD and our partners to discuss how we can work together to address anti-LGBT violence faces communities all across the country.”