The homophobic comments that spewed from Roland Martin during Super Bowl Sunday drew the ire and anger of many in the LGBT community and other equality allies, and despite a call for his firing by GLAAD, Roland Martin has managed only a half-hearted apology and CNN, his employer, has offered not a sound, not a word, not a peep, not any acknowledgment whatsoever.
You’ll remember Martin’s offensive comments after David Beckham’s new underwear ad for H&M aired, like “Ain’t no real bruhs going to H&M to buy some damn David Beckham underwear!,” and then, “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!”
As we all sadly know, a hate crime beating like the one demonstrated in this video, which we published yesterday, is the result of tone-deaf, anti-gay comments from leaders in the public eye. Comments like Martin’s give people permission to do this.
Sunday night, GLAAD began a campaign calling on CNN to fire Martin: “Advocates of anti-gay violence have no place at CNN or Time Warner.” In 48 hours, well over 6000 people have signed the petition.
GLAAD today noted:
CNN political analyst Roland Martin posted an apology on his website following calls from GLAAD, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), bloggers, advocates and thousands of Americans. Wrote Martin:
“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. At a time when anti-gay violence afflicts countless LGBT and LGBT-perceived people in this country every day, prominent figures like Martin should condemn, not promote, such violence.
Yesterday afternoon, a video of a young man being brutally assaulted after exiting a grocery store was posted on LGBT news sites. As the perpetrators beat and kicked their victim, the attackers screamed “Fa**ot” as well as other anti-gay slurs.
Notice that Martin didn’t actually take full responsibility in his “apology.”
Ultimately, it’s up to CNN, its audience, and those affected by Martin’s remarks to judge the veracity of, and Martin’s commitment to, his statement. CNN has thus far remained silent. The network should not continue to do so.
GLAAD continues to believe that CNN can find responsible, diverse voices who do not have a history of advocating or making excuses for violence toward anyone. The network now has to decide.
The time has come for Roland Martin to put actions behind his words. GLAAD calls on him to meet with us and our partners to discuss how we can work together to address the staggering rates of anti-LGBT violence that continues to face our community today.
Meanwhile, not only has CNN not said a peep, neither has Keppler Speakers, which, as we wrote yesterday, is home to over 100 famous political and human rights speakers and activists, like Ellen DeGeneres, Dan Savage, Judy Shepard, and Elizabeth Birch.
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