Well, that was a surprise

The ABC television network has canceled the show Roseanne because its star Roseanne Barr had sent out insulting and racist tweets about Valerie Jarrett, a close advisor to Barack Obama when he was president, one of which said “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”.

“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said in a statement.

The cancellation was a shock in Hollywood. The revival of “Roseanne” premiered to huge ratings just three months ago.

Pre-production was already underway on a second season, which was scheduled for Tuesdays at 8 p.m. this fall.

When Barr’s racist tweets caught fire early Tuesday, ABC went silent for several hours.

When asked why ABC ultimately decided to cancel the sitcom, a Disney source said, “It’s a question of right and wrong. And it’s a question of our company’s values.”

Barr is has very right-wing views and had tweeted all manner of pro-Trump conspiracy theories in the past. She is also a flat out racist, having tweeted earlier about former national security advisor Susan Rice “susan rice is a man with big swinging ape balls.” The most recent tweets about Jarrett had caused an uproar and Barr apologized for what she claimed was a joke in poor taste. Ah, yes, the old “It was just a joke” excuse! But surely you know that a racist joke is still racist, right?

Why I am surprised by the cancellation is that her TV show is a big hit and had had huge ratings. Usually money is the major driver of corporate decisions and so I expected ABC to distance itself from her comments while keeping the show.

I have lost count of the number of people whose downfall was caused by tweeting. The medium encourages people to blurt out the first thing that comes into their heads and send it out to all their many followers. It turns out that for many people, the first thing consists of the most deplorable thoughts. Barr has said that she is leaving Twitter, which is just as well, but too late to save her show. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out, Roseanne.


  1. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Usually money is the major driver of corporate decisions and so I expected ABC to distance itself from her comments while keeping the show.

    I suspect money is the driver in this case as well: with successful advertiser boycotts of well-watched and hugely profitable shows on Fox News being canceled, major networks might have to think about whether one show’s degrading fall might be worse both in that time slot and for the network’s brand as a whole than that network’s “noble cancellation” of the same show.

    If they decide it is, then all the have left is to determine whether the show’s fall is inevitable or avoidable. Barr has clearly shown she’s not going to stop with this shit. It might be quite reasonable to conclude that the fall was probable, if not inevitable.

    Put all that together with “no fun to work with” and any remaining uncertainty might have fallen far short of saving the show from cancelation in what would still be a mostly economic decision.

  2. brucegee1962 says

    We’ve seen a lot of shows that were cancelled by one network picked up by someone else. I wouldn’t be surprised if some other network with fewer scruples swoops in like a fox grabbing a chicken. Not to make any assumptions about which network would do such a thing…

  3. johnson catman says

    I have NEVER watched a single episode of the old Roseanne show or the new one. I remember seeing her for the first time on some comedy show many years ago. I could not stand to listen to her then, and she has not gotten any better.
    Like brucegee1962, I would not be surprised to see some other network pick up the show. I just hope it (and her) go down in flames.

  4. EigenSprocketUK says

    It used to be transmitted in the UK. I thought that Darlene (the daughter) was the intelligent, cool, sarcastic one who genuinely had troubles you wanted her to deal with. When she wasn’t there, I turned off.
    I was surprised to hear that the remake had already done an entire series.
    I imagine that Darlene must now be a grown up woman, struggling with aspects of her upbringing, with a kid who has become sarcastic, intelligent, cool, and with troubles you genuinely want them to deal with. And they have a racist grandmother who they always have to tiptoe around. Sounds like a winner!

  5. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    So Roseanne took to Twitter to blame Ambien for the racist tweet. I got a chuckle out of the response from the company that makes it, “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”

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