Updated Tuesday, 3:15 p.m. EST
CNN contributor Roland Martin has apologized for his remarks that implied advocation of violence against men perceived as gay. Details follow.
Martin posted the apology to his blog late Monday night:
“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. Violence against gay people or against any other minority isn't a political opinion."
GLAAD cautiously reacted to Martin's apology on Tuesday and called on the contributor to meet with LGBT advocates to learn more about the epidemic of anti-gay violence taking a toll on the country.
Last year, Martin defended Tracy Morgan when he said that if his son was gay he would “take out a knife and stab him.” After Morgan apologized by saying he does not “believe that anyone should be bullied or just made to feel bad about who they are,” Martin questioned that he had even chosen to done so. In 2006, when Reverend Al Sharpton urged for unity between the African American and LGBT communities, Martin used it as an opportunity to try to drive a division and advocate for the discredited and abusive practice of so-called “ex-gay” conversion "therapy." In last night's apology Martin claimed to have always used his voice to "speak progressively." Clearly that has not been the case. We hope though in the future it will be.
Ultimately it's up to CNN, viewers and readers to judge Martin's the veracity of and commitment to his words today. CNN has thus far remained silent. They should not continue to do so.
The time has come for Roland Martin to put actions behind his words. 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.”
How do you feel about Martin's apology, Instincters? Should he accept GLAAD's invitation to meet with the community?
CNN contributor Roland Martin is attempting to avoid a pink slip by claiming his Tweets calling for violence against men who would appreciate the sexy David Beckham Super Bowl ad was aimed at soccer fans, not gays. What do groups like GLAAD and the National Black Justice Coalition have to say about Martin's excuse?
Martin got the anti-gay ball rolling early on in the game when he Tweeted his disgust with a player wearing pink. "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 CNN contributor's campaign of advocating violence continued in another Tweet delivered midway through the Super Bowl. "Ain't no real bruhs going to H&M to buy some damn David Beckham underwear. 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."
An army of vigilant LGBT-associated Twitter users immediately sent Martin a salvo of criticism for what was obviously a homophobic Tweet. But it was GLAAD's implied call for CNN to fire Martin that captured the commentator's attention. Wrote GLAAD, "Advocates of gay bashing have no place at @CNN." Martin replied, "@glaad @CNN well you're clearly out of touch and clueless with what I tweeted. Way to assume, but you're way off base."
You, and anyone with their sanity and mental faculties in tact, might be wondering how the gay community was, as Martin says, "off base." Well, it seems that the news personality was referring to fans of soccer, not gay men, in his second appeal for violence on the social network. Mhmm. "You choose to call me homophobic when I'm cracking on Beckham because of soccer," wrote Martin. "Yes, ignorant!"
Martin echoed his excuse in a blog post on Monday, writing:
Fam, let me address the issue that some in the LGBT community have raised regarding some of my Super Bowl tweets yesterday.
I made several cracks about soccer as I do all the time. I was not referring to sexuality directly or indirectly regarding the David Beckham ad, and I’m sorry folks took it otherwise.
It was meant to be a deliberately over the top and sarcastic crack about soccer; I do not advocate violence of any kind against anyone gay, or not. As anyone who follows me on Twitter knows, anytime soccer comes up during football season it’s another chance for me to take a playful shot at soccer, nothing more.
GLAAD again responded to Martin on Monday afternoon with an update to its previous blog post:
Roland Martin has never compared being a soccer fan to being an alcoholic, the way he has compared being gay to being an alcoholic. Roland Martin has never bragged that his wife has led men and women away from the “soccer lifestyle,” the way he claims she has with gay people. Roland Martin has never defended jokes about parents stabbing soccer-playing children, the way he defended jokes about parents stabbing gay children.
Based on this history, this doesn’t seem like a playful jab at what Martin considers an inferior sport.
It seems like a jab at what Martin considers an inferior community of people.
“This isn’t a mistake made on twitter. It’s part of a pattern of anti-LGBT rhetoric that culminated in two tweets yesterday promoting violence towards gay people,” said GLAAD spokesperson Rich Ferraro. “The time has come when CNN and Time Warner have to decide whether they want to continue to use their platforms to elevate those who use such language.”
The National Black Justice Coalition (the nation's largest black LGBT organization) also reacted to Martin's attempts to diffuse the situation. “Even if he meant it in a jovial manner, Roland Martin’s words carry a real impact on the everyday lives of Black LGBT people, especially our youth,” said NBJC's Executive Director Sharon Lettman. "Given the number of rash murders, attacks and violent acts involving LGBT people of color, we cannot let statements such as this go unchecked. Silence is a form of acceptance and only perpetuates the problem.”
(Source: MetroWeekly, GLAAD)