More Than Money

Published: May 30, 2018

By Jim Lichtman
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Rosanne Barr is funny, except when she’s not. Lately, she’s worse.

Finally, a high-profile celebrity who receives their comeuppance after years of racist Twitter rages. Tuesday morning, actress-comedian Roseanne Barr posted the following tweet:

“muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”

The “vj” Barr is referencing is former Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett.

Apparently, word got around the twitterverse fast, very fast, because ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey picked it up, said enough is enough and posted a statement of her own:

“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”

Disney President Bob Iger, which owns ABC, seconded Dungey’s call:  “There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.”

“Jarrett,” The Washington Post reports (May 29), “addressed the comments in an ‘Everyday Racism’ town hall that will air later tonight on MSNBC, saying that Disney chairman Bob Iger had called her before the announcement. ‘This should be a teaching moment,’ Jarrett said, according to an MSNBC preview of the session. ‘I’m fine. I’m worried about all the people out there who don’t have a circle of friends and followers who come right to their defense — the person who’s walking down the street minding their own business and they see somebody cling to their purse or walk across the street. Or every black parent I know who has a boy who has to sit down and have a conversation, “the talk” as we call it… those ordinary examples of racism that happen every single day.’ ”

Think this is Roseanne’s first time at the racist rodeo, think again. News and opinion site Vox offers a look at her  worst hits.

What’s surprising about all this is that for ABC, the new Roseanne show is the highest-rated show of the season, which means plenty of dollars. Needless to say, that had to cross the mind of Dungey and Iger. However, some things are more important than money.

“There may be no perfect moral actors in this world,” media columnist James Poniewozik wrote in The New York Times (May 29), “but that’s still a moral action.”

But that wasn’t the only action announced.

The Washington Post reported that “Barr was also dropped by her talent agency, ICM Partners, who announced in a statement that her “disgraceful and unacceptable tweet” was “antithetical to our core values, both as individuals and as an agency. Consequently, we have notified her that we will not represent her.”

We are finally seeing consequences for publicly bad behavior.

Now, if that would only translate to the voting booth…

Update: Barr now claims that the sleep drug, Ambien, was partially to blame (along with Memorial Day), for her racist tweet.

In response, Ambien drug maker Sanofi-Aventis sent out the following tweet: “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”


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