Roseanne Barr's Show Canceled: Racism or a joke?
Article for reference: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/29/business/media/roseanne-barr-offensive-tweets.html
After two months of widespread success, Roseanne Barr's show (of which she was the star and co-creator) "Roseanne" was just canceled after a so-called racist tweet. In the tweet, Barr wrote: "muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj," in reference to an Obama senior advisor and black woman, Valerie Jarrett.
After immediate backlash, Barr first defended her tweet, stating that it was "a joke," but later deleted the tweet and tweeted an apology, saying "I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans,” she wrote. “I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks. I should have known better. Forgive me - my joke was in bad taste.”
The reaction from ABC and Disney (ABC's Corporate Parent) was quick, and the show was canceled indefinitely only a few hours after Barr's tweet. ABC's entertainment president, Channing Dungey, stated that “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values,” and Robert Iger, chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, requoted Dungey's statement and added: “There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.” I think canceling the show was the right call in this situation. I know that people sometimes overreact to "controversial tweets," but I think Barr's tweet was pretty blatantly racist.
The comparison of a black person to an ape very obviously plays into the racist ideology that people of African descent are inferior beings. It is unfortunate that people who work on her show have lost a job, but the blame for that lies squarely on her shoulders. I also think that Disney has to take a clear stance on any potential racism, in light of their recent success with Black Panther and other more diverse movies and TV shows.