CNN said Wednesday it has suspended political analyst Roland Martin for “regrettable and offensive” Tweets written during the Super Bowl that critics said appeared to call for violence against gays.
“Roland Martin’s Tweets were regrettable and offensive,” the network said in a statement. “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 statement did not specify how long Roland would be suspended.
“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,” one of the Tweets said. “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,” said another.
Martin initially said he was referring to soccer fans. “I know what I said, why I said it, and it’s consistent with me cracking on soccer. Deal with it,” he said in another Tweet shortly after the first ones.
But in a posting on his website, Martin later apologized for the remarks. “To those who construed my comment as being anti-gay or homophobic or advancing violence, I’m truly sorry. I can certainly understand how someone could come to a different conclusion than the one I meant. I’m disheartened that my words would embolden prejudice. While public debate over social issues is healthy, no matter which side someone takes, there is no room for debate as to whether we need to be respectful of others.”