The Bigotry of Roseanne Barr and the Double Standard at ABC

June 2nd, 2018 2:30 PM

Editor's Note: The following has been adapted with the author's permission from its original publication on Carolina Culture Warrior. To be fully transparent, the author also owns shares in ABC (as previously disclosed).

In light of Roseanne Barr’s racist Tuesday morning tweet, ABC cancelled the revival of its 80’s/90’s sitcom Roseanne, starring Roseanne Barr and John Goodman, after only one season despite it having fetched 18 million viewers for its premiere and been renewed for another season.

Without Barr’s tweet, the cancellation wouldn’t make much sense. However, ABC made the absolutely correct decision to not wait and swiftly pull the plug on the show (unlike their decision to cancel Last Man Standing, run by non-crazy star Tim Allen). While hundreds of people no longer have jobs, what Barr did was an amazing display of bigotry, and people from both sides of the spectrum have rightfully called out the tweet.

And as The Washington Post’s Gary Abernanthy pointed out, it will especially be disappointing due to the high ratings and the balanced political dialogue. Nonetheless, this is what can and should happen when someone spews such venom into our discourse.

ABC obviously should have thought twice before doing the new season in the first place. They made the right call in firing Roseanne Barr, but in my estimation, they don’t go far enough.

If the network really cared about offensive and partisan comments, they never would have let ESPN re-hire Keith Olbermann, who has also done juvenile things on Twitter and uttered misogynistic comments for years. Back in 2011, he suggested that now-HLN host S.E. Cupp’s mother should have aborted her.

Want an example of what partisanship on-air personalities can say and get away with it? Let’s begin with Jimmy Kimmel. Among the many hateful comments he's made, the far-left late night host featured a sketch earlier this year viciously smearing Christianity. Hilarious, isn’t it?

Over on The View, co-host Joy Behar deemed Christianity to be a mental illness, and it took separate efforts by an MRC campaign and a push by the Vice President for her to apologize. Yet, she’s still working there. And those examples don’t even include the lewd and offensive things portrayed on a Shonda Rhimes show.

Instead of Bob Iger, this continuing double standard should be blamed directly on Disney-ABC Television Group president Ben Sherwood and ABC Entertainment chief Channing Dungey. Both of which have morphed the company into the most far-left outfit in the history of The Walt Disney Company.

Don’t get me wrong, Disney’s two animation houses in Burbank (Walt Disney Animation Studios) and Emeryville (Pixar) still do amazing work, and would make Walt Disney proud. But, if there were one arm of the company that would make Mr. Disney roll in his grave, then Disney-ABC would indeed be that arm.

Again, ABC was right to fire Roseanne Barr and show that racism will never be tolerated, but Disney wants consistency, it must make sure that any racist, sexist, or vulgar behavior coming from employees of any ideology are forbidden.

As for Roseanne Barr, she has done a lot of damage to Trump supporters with her bigoted tweets. She should have known better than to post something that stupid, but it’s not surprising given her decades-long behavior. 

Beyond ABC or Barr, it goes to show that because social media can be an effective tool to reach out to fans, what you say on the internet can never be taken back.