CNN suspends Roland Martin for Super Bowl tweets

(Editor's note: This article was originally published on The Huffington Post. SDGLN is a content-sharing partner with both GLAAD and HuffPost's Gay Voices.)

CNN announced Wednesday that it is suspending Roland Martin in the wake of the pundit's controversial Super Bowl tweets.

The Washington Post's Erik Wemple posted this statement from the network:

“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.”

The move came three days after Martin caused an outcry by tweeting that people should "smack the ish" out of any male fans of an underwear ad starring David Beckham. After gay rights groups accused him of condoning anti-gay violence, Martin first said that he was merely making fun of soccer players, and then issued an apology of sorts, saying that he regretted "any offense" he had caused.

CNN did not initially make any statement about the controversy, and Martin was on the air for the network's election coverage on Tuesday night.

GLAAD, the LGBT media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today responded to CNN's decision to suspend Martin. On Tuesday, GLAAD called on CNN to speak out after Martin posted an apology to his website.

"CNN today took a strong stand against anti-LGBT violence and language that demeans any community," said Rich Ferraro, GLAAD spokesperson. "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 anti-LGBT violence as well as the language that contributes to it."

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found that violence against LGBT people was up 23% last year. 70% of the victims murdered were people of color, and 44% were transgender women.

Some have insulted Martin's personal character and race when discussing this issue. GLAAD strongly condemned these attacks and said there is no excuse for race-based attacks or hate speech.

On Sunday, Martin tweeted:

"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"

"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"

Martin attempted to explain his first tweet by writing that he "was not referring to sexuality directly or indirectly regarding the David Beckham ad, and I'm sorry folks took it otherwise." However, Martin did not respond to a question from LGBT news outlet 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.

Bloggers, advocates and thousands of supporters joined GLAAD in calling on the network to take action against Roland. For more information, including Martin's full apology, please visit: www.glaad.org/rolandsmartin

Earlier this week, Sharon Lettman-Hicks, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, the nation's largest black LGBT civil rights organization, also spoke out:

"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. 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."

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