Apology Not Enough: CNN Suspends Roland Martin for Homophobic Tweet
EDGE recently reported that CNN contributor Roland Martin was slammed by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for posting an anti-gay and violent tweet regarding a commercial that aired during the Super Bowl. After defending his comments to GLAAD and other Twitter users, Martin did a sudden 180-turn and posted an abject apology that a mounted to a "mea culpa" on his official website.
"Based on several tweets I made on my Twitter feed on Super Bowl Sunday yesterday, I have been accused by members of the LGBT community of being supportive of violence against gays and lesbians and bullying," Martin wrote. "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."
Martin originally tweeted about an ad that appeared during the Super Bowl, which showed soccer player David Beckham modeling his new H&M underwear line. "If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!" he wrote.
But the apology wasn’t enough for executives at CNN, who have just announced that they have suspended Martin indefinitely. As reported by the Washington Post, CNN issued a statement that called the tweets "regrettable and offensive. Language that demeans is inconsistent with the values and culture of our organization, and is not tolerated," the statement continued. "We have been giving careful consideration to this matter, and Roland will not be appearing on our air for the time being."
GLAAD severely criticized the contributor’s comments and issued a statement, which asked CNN to remove Martin from appearing on its on-air talent roster, such as "Anderson Cooper’s AC360," "The Situation Room," and others.
"@rolandsmartin Advocates of gay bashing have no place at @CNN #SuperBowl #LGBT," GLAAD tweeted to Martin. Martin responded to the organization and wrote, "@glaad @CNN well you’re clearly out of touch and clueless with what I tweeted. Way to assume, but you’re way off base."
"As I said repeatedly, I often make jokes about soccer in the U.S., and my crack about David Beckham’s commercial was related to that and not to anyone’s sexuality," Martin said in his apology.
GLAAD also brought up Martin’s history with the LGBT community. When Tracy Morgan said that he would "pull out a knife and stab him" if his son told him he was gay, Martin took to his blog and defended the comedian. When Morgan apologized for his statement, Martin said he would have not done the same. Additionally, GLAAD pointed out that in 2006, Martin supported "ex-gay" programs and that his wife "has counseled many men and women to walk away from the gay lifestyle."
CNN took its time to make an official statement -- let alone a personnel decision -- about the controversy. But reading between the lines of the suddenness and the forcefulness of Martin’s apologia, one might construe that behind the scenes, the news channel’s executives were not happy with Martin’s behavior.
And the dramatic announcement of his suspension shows that the network wants to send a clear signal to its on-air talent: In an age of oversharing on social media, keep controversial and obnoxious thoughts to yourself. Or look for other work.