A US political commentator has apologised for causing any offence after sending a tweet during Sunday’s Super-Bowl which suggested “smacking the ish” out of a man who enjoyed David Beckham’s H&M advert.
The black-and-white advert showed Beckham only in underwear to promote his new line.
It aired during the National Football League’s championship game, which over 100 million people watched.
Roland Martin tweeted to his 90,000 followers during the game: “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”
In response, GLAAD said “advocates of gay bashing” had no place at CNN, where Martin is a regular commentator.
Martin insisted his comment, made during the American Football event of the year, was made because Beckham is a soccer player.
He responded yesterday that it was “furthest from the truth” that he would support violence or bullying towards gays and that he “sincerely regretted” any offence cause by his tweet.
On RolandMartinReports.com, he wrote: “When we witness violence in this country against someone because they are gay, or being beaten because they are Black, that speaks to a vicious cycle that seems to be never ending.
“My joking about smacking someone, whether it was in response to a commercial or food they prepare for a Super Bowl party or wearing an opposing team’s jersey, was stated in jest. It was not meant literally, and in no way would I ever condone someone doing such a thing.
“As I said repeatedly, I often make jokes about soccer in the U.S., and my crack about David Beckham’s commercial was related to that and not to anyone’s sexuality. 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.
He added: “As someone who has spoken out forcefully against bigotry against African Americans and other minorities, as well as sexism against women, I fully understand how a group who has been unfairly treated would be offended by such comments, and, again, I am sorry for any offense my remarks caused.
At the time of publication, 5,700 people had signed a petition calling for CNN to stop inviting Martin to comment on current affairs.
As well as criticising the tweet, GLAAD also drew attention to Martin’s previously-expressed views on ‘gay cure’.
In 2006, a post by Roland Martin on RolandSMartin.com apparently equates homosexuality with kleptomania, saying: “… for Christians, going to church is not supposed to be a feel good exercise. We are expected to be convicted, and encouraged to walk away from sin and live a more Christ-like life. In my church, this goes for the woman who is an alcoholic, the child who continues to be disobedient to his parents, the young lady who is hell-bent on stealing, and the person who is gay.
It continues: “My wife, an ordained Baptist minister for 20 years, has counseled many men and women to walk away from the gay lifestyle, and to live a chaste life. She has asked heterosexual men and women to abstain from sex until marriage. For her, the obligation is to her calling as a minister of the Word, rather than bowing to societal pressures. She loves gay and lesbian church members dearly, and prays with them, talks to them, and breaks bread with them. But what she cannot do is compromise the integrity of the teachings of Christ.”