By Tim Kenneally
Roland Martin, the CNN commentator who was suspended by the cable news outlet earlier this month for a pair of homophobic tweets he sent out during this year’s Super Bowl, has received a thumbs-up from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for his on-air apology on Sunday.
GLAAD had earlier called for Martin’s firing over the tweets.
During his “Perspectives” segment on his show “Washington Watch,” Martin recalled his Feb. 14 meeting with GLAAD’s Herndon Graddick over the tweets. Martin characterized the meeting as helpful and said that he’s sympathetic to many of GLAAD’s stances.
“Ironically, I have historically supported many of the issues important to the GLAAD agenda, such as ending [the] ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy; gay adoption; and including gays in hate crimes laws. Those, folks, are facts.”
He went on to note that he believes all people have a right to be heard.
“If you’re gay or straight, your voice matters. If you are a pastor or activist, your voice matters,” Martin said. “I have no plan to abandon my goal as a truth-teller on a variety of issues; and, yes, that includes those that may be on the LGBT agenda. I am confident that this table can serve as an example of Dr. King’s ‘table of brotherhood,’ and I and this excellent team will do all we can to advance the dialogue so we all can learn, grow and prosper together.”
GLAAD was quick to applaud Martin’s statements, calling Sunday’s “Perspectives” segment an “important step” in mending the hurt caused by his tweets.
“Martin today took another important step, acknowledging that his words had a negative impact, and making it clear that he understands how serious the issues of anti-LGBT bullying and violence are,” the organization said on Sunday. “This incident, along with recent incidents of violence directed at LGBT people, sparked a national dialogue centered around why the issue of anti-LGBT violence needs to be taken seriously.”
Martin caused an uproar with his Super Bowl Sunday tweets, which seemed to advocate violence against gays.
“If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham‘s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!” Roland said in one of his tweets.
Another of Martin’s tweets read, “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.”
The commentator had also earned GLAAD’s ire by defending Tracy Morgan after the “30 Rock” star said in a standup routine that he would “pull out a knife and stab” his son if he were to find out he was gay. (Morgan also met with GLAAD after being publicly chastised by the group over his comments.)
“Morgan is keenly aware of what society actually thinks, and he simply said it onstage. Isn’t that what comedians have always done?” Martin wrote of the controversy of Morgan’s statements.