Ethics Dunce (But We Knew That): Roseanne Barr [UPDATED…Again!]

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…


Pointer: johnburger2013

36 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce (But We Knew That): Roseanne Barr [UPDATED…Again!]

  1. Had her tweet been disparaging a White Christian Trump Cabinet Secretary the powers that be would have given her an Emmy. I still see a double standard. Do I agree with what she said or think it’s funny? Nope, but had she equated Betsy Devos to the child of the Southern Baptist Convention and The Sound of Music she would still be raking in the dough. No doubt. That is what really turns my stomach.

    • Right? It is not so much fake outrage, as that seems real enough, it is the selective outrage that I find annoying.

      In any event, she has not been relevant to our culture since the 90’s.

  2. I’m disappointed the show won’t continue as it was entertaining & less offensive than most things on TV. It was nice to see a family have different political viewpoints but not walk out on each other over them, as we have seen in some families since Trump’s election. Online you can find accounts of people unwilling to put differences aside for Thanksgiving. Rosanne was the opposite of that which I found refreshing and culturally beneficial.

    But my bar may be low with regard to Ms. Barr. I never watched her show when it first ran, and other than the frightfully disgusting national anthem “singing” I never thought of her. I have friends in my circle who met her. She was apparently late for an event because she was stoned and is rather short. I was honestly surprised I liked her show.

    She absolutely was wrong. And I could easily be offended by her words, but I’m not. She simply doesn’t strike me as the brightest star in the sky and I’m sure this is unpopular but I will miss the show.

    • Finally you & George Soros have something to agree on. By the way his group helped create today’s Starbucks reeducation day camp. I’m sure a total coincidence.

  3. Kara Tucker wrote ;
    The new Roseanne show was supposed to provide a window into people who support Trump.
    It turns out that Roseanne (Barr), the actual person, did exactly that far better than Roseanne Connor, the character, did.

    For proof look at those not just defending but justifying her remarks, that non-whites are sub human.

    Not to be confused with those defending her for merely speaking her mind, and castigating the network for applying double standards.

    ABC’s hand was forced due to so many of the cast joining with the writer and refusing to appear on the show again. Emma Kenney wasnt the only cast member on the phone to her manager looking to get out before the network announcement. They’d have to re-boot the re-boot.

    Meanwhile even in Australia, the networks have not just cancelled the show, they’ve binned all the re-runs next to the Cosby Show and Fat Albert.

    • Rosanne tweeting exactly the kind of braindead statement she was known to say is very different than America’s father secretly drugging and raping women….

    • Just another anti-Trump cheap shot. The show was supposed to attract and audience and make money. Writers like the vile Wanda Sykes have no insight into Trump supporters or conservatives (and they aren’t the same thing.) Roseanne was an ugly, nasty, tasteless vulgarian long before Trump was in politics. The fact that boors tended to gravitate to a fellow boor nonetheless does not make the Chief Boor responsible for the acts or words of subordinate ones. Roseanne was looking for an angle to launch a project, that’s all. She wasn’t capable of providing any “window”—to begin with, she’s neither perceptive nor bright, as this episode amply demonstrates.

      • She is brain injured though. She shows really obvious classic signs of lesions to the frontal lobes, from a serious car accident when she was 17. Not that such handicaps can’t be overcome, but it does explain her shoot before aiming habits. It’s harder for her to think before acting than it is for most, if I have it right. She acts on impulse. Like Trump, but there there’s no depressed skull fracture to blame, and not many signs of senile dementia. Nothing significant that’s so obvious it’s unmistakable.

        ” Roseanne was an ugly, nasty, tasteless vulgarian long before Trump was in politics. ”

        No shaving cream, Sherlock. Also way to go Captain Obvious. Still, sometimes the obvious needs restating, and on this occasion, your comment is productive. Yes, she was, and is.

        Trump was a nasty, tasteless vulgarian long before Barr entered comedy too. Ugly? Only in spirit, and even then less so than many at the time. For a grifter, better in that regard than most. In the past.

        I think it is that we hold our comediennes to a higher standard than our Presidents.

        • Sorry, not 17, 16. Should have looked it up rather than relying on memory.

          “At 16, Barr was hit by a car; the incident left her with a traumatic brain injury. Her behavior changed so radically that she was institutionalized for eight months at Utah State Hospital. While institutionalized she had a baby, which she put up for adoption.

          In 1970, when Barr was 18 years old, she moved out by informing her parents she was going to visit a friend in Colorado for two weeks, but never returned.”

          ” So she went back to being a good kid for the most part until the day she was hit by a car when she was 16 years of age. Apparently the hood ornament actually imprinted and went through her skull and into her brain. She was in the hospital for six months and when she woke up her personality had changed so radically that it was like the difference between night and day. The brain injury she sustained changed her so much that by the time she was 17 she’d had a child that she quickly put up for adoption, something that seemed entirely unlike her before her accident. Plus, who in the world is able to get up the gumption to get frisky that soon after an injury to the brain? Someone who’s controls just got scrambled a little while before, that’s who”

          Or someone whose ability to foresee consequences rather than acting on impulse is damaged. Textbook symptoms.

          Having worked with the brain injured – and having suffered a brain injury myself (yes, it shows, right?) the impulsivity resulting from lesions in the frontal lobes can be compensated for in most cases. It’s just harder for those with such injuries to think before acting, and they need practice in doing this to rewire the cortex, or at least compensate using higher brain functions rather than the learned instinct most people have. Takes many years.

          I still have a touch of aphasia even after 40 years. But regained the juvenile ability to learn languages, so a mixed curse.

          • To conclude, anyone who doesn’t have a total problem with Trump’s policies has obviously suffered traumatic brain injury. Good to know.

          • This is fascinating. There are other examples of successful people who suffered permanent brain injury in childhood—Abe Lincoln for example—but this is the first time I’ve heard of someone whose brain injury actually assisted them. But I bet there are others, especially artists.

            • I agree. She did benefit from this. At the same time, it makes me feel half-sorry for her. I did not know this about her, and it is sad that she might not have been able to help herself (just like her character’s addiction to pain meds; it really is a good show that brings up serious issues in a way that makes you empathetic to the realities of the human condition). Honestly, just this season, they have dealt with gender issues, infertility, the death of a spouse, pain killer addiction, unemployment, custody issues, Trump, and aging parents (and some others). It did it with humor and seriousness. I am sad that there will not be another season.

              And I blame ABC. ABC is to blame for ITS decision to cancel. The out of work people should blame ABC. Roseanne screwed up, for whatever reason. But ABC should own up to its decision to cancel. They did not have to. So, the loss of jobs is on them. But, they are spineless.

              But, that is no excuse.


              P.S. honestly, if you hate her, especially if you do, watch the new season (and older ones). The show is serious. It treats REAL people in a realistic way, flaws and all. I was glad to see old characters, years later, dealing with their issues. They were dealt with frankly, even the death of an actor, due to drugs, that led to A storyline about his death that affected a character who wanted children. It is really sad. And, sadder because the rest of the story will not be told.

              Having said that, the lawyer in me tells her to sue ABC for discriminating against her for her disability. Just to be clear, stupidity is no (legal) disability, but it sounds like she has a real disability.

              But, not a very good legal case (unless she hires me).

              Frickin’ lawyers (unless she hires me)!


        • Doctor Sue,

          Even an esteemed medical professional such as yourself should know better than to medically diagnose someone via social media.

          • But sometimes you have to point out that Stevland Morris is obviously visually impaired, even if you haven’t personally performed an opthalmological examination, and are unqualified to do so.

            It’s obvious.

            The brain damage to his osmic bulb from a 1973 car crash leaving him with a reduced sense of smell, that’s not obvious, but like Roseanne Barr’s traumatic head injury , also a matter of public record.

            I consider Mr Morris – or to use his stage name, Stevie Wonder – a truly remarkable, talented and inspirational human being.

            • However, OBS, now called TBI, has a wide spectrum of symptoms. Quite frankly, all or none may be present, or anywhere in between. That the traumatic brain injury happened is a matter of public record. Assigning it causal status to a specific behavior is problematic and speculative.

          • Allowed to serve – until impeached, or removed from office for incapacity.

            Neither is going to happen though to the current incumbent, barring some unforeseen eventuality such as stroke, being struck by lightning or a passing meteor when golfing, etc. So this is just a technicality.

  4. This is just another lesson that there is a limit to how outrageous you can get. It’s permissible to insult most religions and say that those who follow them are idiots. A LOT of ethnic insults are perfectly OK, although there is a sliding scale of acceptability depending on the speaker. However, comparing blacks to monkeys is too outrageous to tolerate. I say good, it should be considered intolerable to state that part of the human race is subhuman and comparable to apes. Unfortunately, the fact is that there’s very few outrages that have been considered comparable. Apart from the current #Metoo witch hunt, the last time I remember anything like this happening to anyone was the now-dead Helen Thomas’ demented remarks in 2010 on how the Jews needed to get the hell out of Palestine and go home to Germany and Poland and America and everywhere else. It sent her into instant retirement and led to her name being erased from awards, etc. The last time before that was twitty teen singer Charlotte Church’s stupid remarks to the media that the firemen who responded to 9/11 were not heroes, which sent her American CD sales into a tailspin from which they never recovered and eventually resulted in her imploding personally and professionally. Frankly, I think the pitiable part of this is that it takes gross racism, gross ignorance, or gross insensitivity to result in these proper consequences.

    • First they came for the sexists…then racists and so on. Luckily Starbucks reeducation day camp curriculum will be available to the public soon so we can prevent such (thought) crimes. Thanks Perception Institute!

  5. Wasn’t Rosanne Barr running mate ti Cindy Sheehan in the Green Party? Wasn’t she the one who grabbed her crotch after a caterwalling rendition of the anthem? Why did anyone truly believe she and Trump would be sympatico in ideology. Her past speaks volumes and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised that the sitcom and the tweet were orchestrated events to tie Trump to her vile statements. I never bought into her claim of supporting Trump. She needed a schtick to get back in the news.

    We all seem to have short memories until we work to smear a third party.

    • Gotta agree with you on this one, Chris. This is the same woman who blamed Bush for 9/11 and who announced “Everybody knows steel can’t be hurt by fire”, or words to that affect. A Trump supporter ? Unlikely, that.

  6. Last night, MSNBC held roundtable/townhall discussion on race relations in America, hosted by Chris Hayes and Joy Reid, which included Valerie Jarrett, the Right Honorable and Most Highly Reverend Al Sharpton, and Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, along with Kenneth Johnson from Starbucks. Here is the link:

    It is interesting to watch. After about 10 minutes, I wondered if I live in the same country. Trump clearly is responsible for the decay in race relations, immigration relations, economic and political relations, and while he may not be a card-carrying member of the KKK or the Nazi Party, he clearly opened the door, paved the road, and fertilized the garden to allow racism to flourish.


  7. The joke was bad. I’m not crying over the loss of the show from culture, I wasn’t particularly overjoyed when it started up, because Barr is an ass, and asses shit, sooner or later, and I knew that eventually, she would be used as some kind of example, even though she isn’t. But I don’t want to hear it from lefties. I really don’t. The outrage is fake. It’s always fake. And even when I might agree with the general sentiment, hearing it expressed so gravely from people who I know don’t actually give a shit is off-putting. It bumps me down the cognitive dissonance scale, and all of a sudden I find myself trying to rationalise the unrationalisable, and I don’t like it.

    Take Andrea Mitchell on NBC, within minutes of Roseanne’s tweet, she had Joy Reid on her show to talk about how awful Roseanne’s comments were, and asked Reid a question: “What do you have to do on social media to be fired from a top rated show?” Well, Andrea, that’s an interesting question, because the guest you just asked that to made the news cycle not horribly long ago because she’d made a ton of tweets about gay men, slurs, degradation, jokes, one tweet in particular asserted that gay men were pedophiles. Oops. So yeah… What DOES someone need to do to get kicked off the air, Joy? CNN didn’t fire her, no one seems to remember it a couple of weeks later. Is Joy Reid’s positions on gay men indicative of Progressive thought generally? I mean… Shoe on the other foot, that’s what they’re asserting with Roseanne and Trump. But see, Reid has the right politics, right? Or is it that Gay men are still men and on the lowest run of the progressive stack? Whatever it is, the difference in how progressives treat their own compared to how they treat people outside their bubbles is obvious, partisan, and morally bankrupt.

    On a similar note, this past week, we saw a slew of pictures that were attributed to Trump’s administration and used as cudgels against him get deleted because the pictures were identified as being from 2014…. Because the people posting the images hate Trump, liked Obama, and they didn’t really care about the kids.

    • Well said, Humble. I posted the MSNBC townhall discussion on race in America link to another comment. The moderators were Chris Hayes and Joy Reid. Panelists included none other than the Reverend Al Sharpton, that paragon of tolerance, truth, and openness. No wonder Syria’s ambassador to the UN, represents his country as president of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Switzerland. The inmates are running the asylum.


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