CNN spokeswoman Megan Grant confirms FishbowlDC’s story that analyst Roland Martin’s suspension has been “lifted.” The decision ends about a month of CNN exile for Martin, who drew a rush of attention with a couple of homophobic tweets on Super Bowl Sunday:
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
CNN’s handling of the episode bears a lack of symmetry. In instituting the suspension, the network issued a statement saying, among other things, that the tweets were “regrettable and offensive. Language that demeans is inconsistent with the values and culture of our organization, and is not tolerated.”
The reinstatement, on the other hand, appears to carry no statement. (I have requested one but haven’t received anything.) The news has trickled out via shadows, as if CNN were trying to sneak the guy back on the air. CNN did not respond to a question as to whether Martin would be on tonight’s election-coverage team. It’d be nice to know what the network feels the disciplinary action has accomplished.
For that, we’ll have to rely on the Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation (GLAAD), the activist organization whose liaison, Herndon Graddick, met with Martin to talk about his tweets during the suspension. Following that session, GLAAD issued a positive-sounding statement that made clear that Martin hadn’t really changed his defiant tone on the propriety of the Super Bowl tweets. The group commended Martin’s “willingness to engage with us around these issues,” adding:
It’s not easy to sit down with a group that has just spoken out publicly in the way we did. It speaks to his character that he is willing to have this dialogue with us and for the comments he made today.
When asked about the lifting of the suspension, GLAAD noted:
CNN’s suspension of Roland Martin sparked a nationwide dialogue about the prevalence of anti-LGBT violence and how language can contribute to that. We hoped that Martin would use this incident to speak out in support of LGBT people and against violence. It remains to be seen whether he will continue to use his platforms to do that.
That’s so lukewarm I’m tempted to drop a packet of yeast in it.
This limp end to the Martin-tweet proceedings is the awful handiwork of suspension-oriented discipline. Suspensions are designed to be ridden out, suffered through and remembered with shame and regret. Still waiting on Martin’s multipart series on gay bashing in America.