It seems that CNN analyst, Roland Martin has caused a firestorm of controversy with his recent tweets during the Super Bowl XLVI. Now GLAAD and other critics are calling for his firing for what they say are anti-gay comments Martin made on Twitter.
After a David Beckham ad aired, Martin tweeted, “Ain’t no real bruhs going to H&M to buy some damn David Beckham underwear!” He continued, “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!”
Whether you agree or disagree with the critics is not really the point of this piece. I’d rather discuss the underlying issue. Until recently, celebrities have always had very crafted images, maintained in large part because of the work of expert PR tactics. The closest we ever got to hearing what they really thought was in personal interviews, like the Barbara Walter Specials. Even then, there was anticipation of which questions might be asked, such that responses could be crafted ahead of time–responses that would allow the celebrity’s image to remain intact.
These days, however, celebrities and their handlers defer to a new tactic that involves giving fans direct access to celebrities via social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook. This trend makes a gaffes almost inevitable, with celebrities spouting off at the mouth about almost every topic. Twitter, in particular, has gotten quite a few celebrities in trouble.
I am quite certain that it is probably part of Roland Martin’s contract to keep up with social media. Furthermore, I bet CNN encourages him to make more “personal” comments on his Facebook page and Twitter feed so that the viewers can feel more connected to him. I say this because it’s a growing trend among news readers and pundits to post private photos and comments about their lives off-set. I’m reminded of the frequent Facebook updates that I see from both Roland Martin and Don Lemon.
It’s funny because Heit and I were just talking a few weeks ago about our feeling that Roland Martin posts too much on Facebook and Twitter. I thought that perhaps after this incident, he might slow down, or at least stick to the news, but he continues to talk. Of course, at the moment his personal posts are dedicated to clearing his name on this particular incident.
In the end, it’s important to realize that we cannot have it both ways. We can’t hold celebrities to such high standards, expecting that they’ll always say the right thing, and never offend people–yet at the same time expect them to give personal access to fans, opening themselves up to making unscripted statements. Surely there is at least one thing on your own Twitter feed or Facebook page that might ruffle a few feathers if it went public.
Furthermore, these celebrity images are just that, images. They are no more a true depiction of who the person is than your behavior at your job is how you really are. Celebrities are people, not gods that they should be worshiped as if they are the bringers of salvation. Until Americans reject this culture of superficiality, people will continue to be disappointed when a famous person exposes what’s underneath their mask.
GLAAD angry over CNN analyst Roland Martin’s David Beckham tweet
CNN analyst Roland Martin (perhaps better known to “Daily Show” viewers as the noted ascot-wearer Roland Martin) is working furiously to explain himself after a controversial tweet he sent Sunday night criticizing an H&M ad featuring David Beckham.
Midway through the Super Bowl, Martin sent a tweet making fun of the black-and-white ad that showed the soccer star dressed only in his tighty-whiteys: “Ain’t no real bruhs going to H&M to buy some damn David Beckham underwear!” He continued, “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!”
The tweet has raised the ire of many online, who accused Martin of gay bashing. GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, has launched an onli…, “Fam, let me address the issue that some in the LGBT community have raised regarding some of my Super Bowl tweets yesterday. 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. 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.”
GLAAD isn’t having it, however. On its website, the organization is pointing out a series of insensitive comments and jokes Martin has made about gay people over the years.
“This isn’t a mistake made on Twitter. It’s part of a pattern of anti-LGBT rhetoric that culminated in two tweets yesterday promoting violence towards gay people,” GLAAD spokesman Rich Ferraro said. Source: LA Times