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(This post was originally published at GLAAD Blog.)
Following retailer H&M's Super Bowl commercial featuring soccer player David Beckham, CNN's Roland Martin tweeted to almost 95,000 followers:
"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"
Roland Martin is a regular guest on CNN and a commentator on the Tom Joyner Morning Show as well as TV One, a news network available in over 36 million homes.
GLAAD and many LGBT advocates on Twitter including Perez Hilton, Kenyon Farrow, Darian Aaron, @TheFireNexTime, @Markyapelli, @Anti_Intellect, @ChrisGeidner, Scott Wooledge, @RubinReport, @marcslove, @Blabbeando, @michaelajones, Andy Szekeres, and many others immediately took Martin to task (see Chris Geidner's MetroWeekly post).
Earlier today, Martin posted to his Facebook fan page: "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"
Since making the comments, Martin has suggested his tweet regarding David Beckham was intended as a slight toward soccer fans. He did not respond to a question from Metro Weekly about why, if the tweet was about soccer and not based in anti-gay sentiment, he only referenced his concern about "a dude ... hyped" about the ad and not any soccer fan.
A closer look at his record gives a window into Martin's anti-gay views.
Last year, Tracy Morgan said during a stand-up routine that if his son were gay he would 'stab him.' Morgan later apologized and worked with GLAAD to send positive messages to parents and LGBT youth.
Morgan understood how his words could influence his fans and put youth in danger, while Martin defended Tracy Morgan's original remarks.
Wrote Martin: "Say I'm wrong. Fine. Say I'm insensitive to gays and lesbians. Fine."
He continued: "Sorry, if I'm being honest here and not focusing on political correctness. I just believe that many of you would be shocked and amazed that you laughed hysterically at some of the most sexist, homophobic, racist stuff imaginable by comedians of all shapes, sizes, ethnic backgrounds, genders and sexual orientations."
At a time when the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found that violence against LGBT people was up 23%, we need people in the public eye to speak out against the dangers of anti-LGBT violence, not openly encourage it.
Martin also has used his platform to misrepresent religious views about LGBT people. Far from the church being uniformly anti-gay, as Martin has claimed, LGBT people are welcomed just as they are into the full life of the church, in congregations and entire denominations across the United States. Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Episcopal denominations welcome LGBT folks, as well as many congregations from a variety of denominations.
On Martin's website he ignores the medical evidence about the ineffective nature and harms associated with so-called ex-gay programs and instead praises his wife who he says "has counseled many men and women to walk away from the gay lifestyle."
As many of his peers in the news media have reported: The American Psychiatric Association states that "The potential risks of 'reparative therapy' are great, including depression, anxiety and self destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient" (from its position statement on Psychiatric Treatment and Sexual Orientation).
Martin's tweets today advocating violence against gay people weren't an accident -- they are a part of a larger pattern for Martin.
Anti-gay violence in America is a serious problem facing millions of Americans. It's no joke. CNN should fire Roland Martin.
Click HERE to tell CNN and Time Warner that Roland Martin should be fired.
Roland S. Martin's response
By Roland S. Martin
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.