CNN SPEAKS OUT AGAINST ANTI-LGBT VIOLENCE, SUSPENDS COMMENTATOR ROLAND MARTIN

Rich Ferraro
Director of Communications, GLAAD
(646) 871-8011
ferraro@glaad.org

February 8, 2012

New York, NY, February 8, 2012 – GLAAD, the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today responded to CNN’s decision to suspend political analyst Roland Martin after he posted a series of tweets which advocated for anti-gay violence during Sunday’s Super Bowl game. Yesterday, GLAAD called on CNN to speak out after Martin posted an apology to his website.

Today, CNN released the following statement regarding its decision:

“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 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 percent last year. Seventy percent of the victims murdered were people of color, and 44 percent were transgender women.

Some have insulted Martin’s personal character and race when discussing this issue. GLAAD strongly condemns these attacks. 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.”