The Chicago-based radio host has been under fire since Sunday and the target of an social media action by GLAAD and the National Black Justice Coalition. CNN has been quiet until now when it released this statement:
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.”
CNN took its time, but it clearly reached a strong decision here. What Martin had tweeted — advocating beatings for men who’d enjoyed the David Beckham underwear ad shown during the Super Bowl plus the same for a New England Patriot clad in a pink suit — was the equivalent of cheerleading for violence against gays.
"CNN today took a strong stand against anti-LGBT violence and language that demeans any community," said GLAAD spokesperson Rich Ferraro. "Yesterday, Martin also spoke out against anti-LGBT violence. We look forward to hearing from CNN and Roland Martin to discuss how we can work together as allies and achieve our common goal of reducing such violence as well as the language that contributes to it."
Roland Martin's homophobic comments should come as no surprise to R20 readers. Martin has previously compared gays to alcoholics, defended Tracy Morgan's violent homophobic comedy skit and slammed "gay blogs" for "savagely attacking" anti-gay Miss California Carrie Prejean.
Martin has a major platform across Black media—radio, television and magazines—and his words are particularly harmful to Black LGBTs. Despite his well-documented homophobic track record, a number of Black gay voices have defended Martin and attacked GLAAD and other activists. Rev. Kevin E. Taylor, the New Jersey-based pastor, gay activist, author and producer dissects this in an excellent op-ed at RollingOut.com:
Martin is the “crazy uncle” who we are used to coming into the room and saying stupid things. ... We are used to the Rolands of our world ranting about stuff in off-handed ways. [So] many Black gay men have learned to absorb the shock of these comments and keep it moving “cuz that’s just how he is."
We are often still so ensconced in our Black community ... because we still find more sanctuary in Blackness than in gayness. We would rather take off-the-chin remarks from the family "we know loves us" because we have at least had great memories of family gatherings that just happened to include the crazy uncles and the Bible-toting aunts who say they love us but not "that lifestyle." I am pissed off and disappointed at members of my own community because while I completely understand the need to be close to the family and stay close to home, we’ve got to be willing to grow up.
It's an excellent op-ed. Read it HERE.
Martin's "jokes" about homophobic violence were delivered at the same time a young Black gay man was viciously attacked by a gang in Atlanta. The video-taped gay-bashing has gone viral. The FBI has has joined the police investigation.
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