UPDATED: CNN’s Roland Martin Under Fire For Anti-Gay Tweets, Suspended by Network
UPDATE: CNN announced that they have suspended Roland Martin after staying silent on the matter for the past few days. The cable network issued the following statement on Wednesday:
“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.”
Roland Martin’s twitter page has been noticeably less controversial since Super Bowl Sunday, and his blog this afternoon had a post promoting awareness about an anti-gay hate crime.
CNN has not announced when Martin will return to the network.
CNN anchor Roland Martin is in some hot water after several controversial tweets he made about a Super Bowl ad featuring a nearly-naked David Beckham.
Swedish fashion retailer H&M introduced its “Beckham Bodywear” line with a 30-second spot during the big game that placed the soccer star-heartthrob front and center in nothing but his underwear.
Reaction to the ad was mixed, but most viewers moved on to the next entertaining Super Bowl commercial. Martin, however, couldn’t seem to let it go.
Immediately after the ad aired, Martin tweeted: “Ain’t no real bruhs going to H&M to buy some damn David Beckham underwear! #superbowl”
So maybe Beckham’s new clothing line just wasn’t to Martin’s liking, and the tweet was an innocent way of expressing that? The political commentator upped the ante in another tweet two minutes later:
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.
Martin faced immediate backlash for the tweets. One Twitter user asked if it’s acceptable for him to define masculinity for everyone else, to which Martin responded, “Yes. Deal with it!”
While Martin claims his tweets weren’t anti-gay, a quick look at his Twitter page suggests otherwise. Earlier Sunday he tweeted: “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” And several weeks ago he tweeted: “Ladies, if your man don’t like sports, send his azz back to the factory. He came to you defective! #rolandsrules.”
In a video shot during the 2008 presidential campaign, Martin said that the Democrats had to make room in their party for anti-gay evangelicals, saying that gays had too much influence over Barack Obama.
There are several more tweets and comments that we could include here, but the point is clear. Even though some of the remarks were made in jest, Martin continues to imply that there’s something wrong with men who aren’t masculine enough by his definition. LGBT advocacy groups, including GLAAD, have already launched an online petition calling for him to be fired.
Martin has since backed off, claiming his tweets about the Beckham ad were anti-soccer and not anti-gay.
That claim is almost as laughable as Martin’s own fashion endeavors.
Graham White is a journalism intern for Campus Progress. You can follow him on Twitter @GrahamWhiteNY.