GLAAD vs. CNN's Roland Martin

Soccer star David Beckham's underwear ads for H&M were mocked on Twitter by Roland Martin. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation saw it as gay-bashing.
Soccer star David Beckham's underwear ads for H&M were mocked on Twitter by Roland Martin. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation saw it as gay-bashing. (ALASDAIR McLELLAN / H&M)
Posted: February 07, 2012

Expect more fallout from the tempestuous Twitter battle that raged Sunday between CNN's Roland Martin and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) over two vaguely Super Bowl-related off-color remarks Martin made about David Beckham's manly bearing and whether men should wear pink - remarks some consider gay-bashing.

Martin, 43, mocked an H&M ad that features soccer god Beckham in his underwear.

"If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham's H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!" Martin (@rolandsmartin) tweeted.

(What is an ish? And can it really be spanked out of someone?)

Martin, a syndicated columnist, TV One and CNN commentator, and author of books including Speak, Brother! A Black Man's View of America, quickly was hit with this tweet from GLAAD: "@rolandsmartin Advocates of gay bashing have no place at @CNN . . . "

Martin wasn't going to let it go at that and sent this missive in turn. "@glaad @CNN well you're clearly out of touch and clueless with what I tweeted. Way to assume, but you're way off base."

GLAAD has reproduced the exchange on a "rolandmartin" page on its site.

Shortly after Martin's last riposte, GLAAD told its followers that earlier Sunday Martin had made another Twitter comment that GLAAD alleged also is homophobic.

"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 had tweeted.

In a statement Monday on his blog, Martin says, "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."

Martin adds, "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."

In a statement about Martin's statement, GLAAD asserted that Martin has a history of making antigay comments.

"Roland Martin has never compared being a soccer fan to being an alcoholic, the way he has compared being gay to being an alcoholic," the statement reads.

"Roland Martin has never bragged that his wife has led men and women away from the 'soccer lifestyle,' the way he claims she has with gay people. Roland Martin has never defended jokes about parents stabbing soccer-playing children, the way he defended jokes about parents stabbing gay children."

GLAAD adds: "Based on this history, this doesn't seem like a playful jab at what Martin considers an inferior sport. It seems like a jab at what Martin considers an inferior community of people."

GLAAD has posted a petition calling for viewers to urge CNN to fire the syndicated columnist and author. (As of 4 p.m. Monday it had 3,501 signatures.)

CNN had yet to comment.


Contact staff writer Tirdad Derakhshani at 215-854-2736. Read his "SideShow" blog at philly.com/sideshow.

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