Roseanne Barr tweeted that Valerie Jarrett was the offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes. Which is pretty bad. Did she have the right to tweet it ala the First Amendment? Sure. Was it kind of, sort of, for sure a racist thing to tweet? I’m going with “yes.” Does the First Amendment protect people from repercussions from what they say? Only from the government. That’s key.
ABC, though their news organization may sound like government shills, is not the government. ABC, as a private business, has canned “Roseanne.”
ABC Entertainment cancels Roseanne Barr's show, calling her comment on Twitter "abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values." https://t.co/2HJA1onFiw [Corrects link] pic.twitter.com/XEdNA8RLft
— ABC News (@ABC) May 29, 2018
From Channing Dungey, President of ABC Entertainment: "Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show."
There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.
— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) May 29, 2018
Now, before Roseanne fans, either fans of the show or of the individual, claim this is in violation of Roseanne’s right to free speech, don’t. It isn’t a free speech issue. ABC isn’t saying Roseanne didn’t have the right to say what she said. ABC is saying Roseanne’s statement, or joke, however, we want to define it, isn’t in line with their values. So they’ve canceled Roseanne’s show.
Actors, comedians, everyone has the right to say whatever the heck they want. But there are consequences to what is said. We may not agree with those consequences. That’s our freedom of speech to disagree with what ABC did, and voice it. But freedom of speech isn’t freedom from reaction. Freedom of speech isn’t freedom to be an ass without someone telling you you’re an ass. If Roseanne had instead tweeted “Ted Cruz is the result of a drunken romp between Satan and a donkey” and ABC had canceled Roseanne’s show, ABC still wouldn’t be wrong. Nor would people be wrong for saying what ABC did in that hypothetical situation was terrible. We’re free to all talk about it.
No one has the right to a television show. Roseanne couldn’t help herself and popped off with a bad joke. Now ABC is popping her off the air. Maybe ABC will regret it later. Maybe ABC won’t regret it later.
Now, is ABC consistent in who they boot off the air depending on what a show creator or show star says? If we were to trip through ABC’s lineup to find all the offensive actors, directors, producers etc, we’d probably find a few. Like these guys did:
Roseanne is gone from ABC. Is @JoyAnnReid still on NBC? How about April Ryan – oh yeah – she's on CNN right now – talking about Roseanne. And Wanda Skykes. Michelle Wolfe has a show on Netflix.
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) May 29, 2018
— Jimmy Fresh (@AMillennialMind) May 29, 2018
The “whataboutism” will be strong today. It’s already begun.