Ugh. The new, surprise hit reboot of “Roseanne” self-destructed when it’s star, not for the first time, couldn’t restrain herself from being objectively repulsive and tweeted a racist insult to former President Obama’s black chief-of-staff, Valerie Jarrett. This morning the comic—at least some people think she is comical—tweeted that Jarrett was the offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood and “Planet of the Apes.” as in “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” Barr apologized, but ABC was quick: it cancelled the series, saying, “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”
Rosanne didn’t just step on a landmine, she stepped on several, then jumped up and down on them to make sure they blew her to bits, or so it seemed. Can’t attack anyone associated with Obama. Can’t use “Muslim” as an insult. Can’t make monkey jokes about black people. Any of these can be career-killers, and Roseanne did all of them at once, in only ten words and two initials. Wow. It takes a Master Ethics Dunce to do that. I am in awe.
Does she deserve to lose her show over this? Of course she does. It was, by any standard, a racist, hateful tweet. No company, especially an entertainment company, especially a Disney company, can afford to be associated with that kind of reckless, high-visibility employee, She was on thin ice anyway, being a self-declared Trump supporter. She should have known that she had to be even more careful than other uncivil comics and celebrities, like Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert and Alec Baldwin, all of whom have said or tweeted ugly and hateful things about the right kind of people—you know, whites, Republicans, the President, and his family.
One of Roseanne’s writers, stand-up comic Wanda Sykes, quit the show before it could be cancelled in protest over Roseanne’s “joke”, though Sykes herself was booed off the stage in 2016 after going on a hateful, expletive-filled rant against President-Elect Donald Trump, then flipping off the crowd as she exited to boos. Now that’s the kind of comic ABC is proud to employ!
Roseanne giveth, Roseanne taketh away: the star’s big mouth cost her cast, writers and production staff their jobs. An indispensable member of a project has a duty to remember that others are depending on her, and to act accordingly. My sympathy for Rosanne’s victims is tempered, however, by the fact that they (and ABC) voluntarily hooked up with this proven scorpion—as in the tale of The Scorpion and the Frog-–in the first place. They had to know that they were taking a risk. Barr is nasty, unstable, and none-too-bright….and her ethics alarms have never functioned properly.
With any luck, we have seen the last of Rosanne Barr, and she can’t blame anyone but herself.
UPDATE: Disney, for example, apparently had no problem with this tasteful gag:
UPDATE 2: Perceptive expansion on the Scorpion/Frog theme by Jonathan Last…