Roseanne Barr's Firing Was a Predictable and Tribal Action

FILE - In this image released by ABC, Roseanne Barr, left, and John Goodman appear in a scene from the reboot of "Roseanne," premiering on Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST. For the reboot, Roseanne will be at odds with her sister Jackie, played by Laurie Metcalf, over President Donald Trump. Barr said she thought it was important to show how the Conner family deals with the same issues many American families are facing. (Adam Rose/ABC via AP, File)

FILE – In this image released by ABC, Roseanne Barr, left, and John Goodman appear in a scene from the reboot of “Roseanne,” premiering on Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST. For the reboot, Roseanne will be at odds with her sister Jackie, played by Laurie Metcalf, over President Donald Trump. Barr said she thought it was important to show how the Conner family deals with the same issues many American families are facing. (Adam Rose/ABC via AP, File)

 

A couple of days ago, Roseanne Barr went on an Ambien-fueled Twitter rampage and made the mistake of targeting the wrong person. The subject of her most offensive tweet was long time Obama éminence grise Valerie Jarrett. I don’t know if the intent was racist, but we live in a day and age when using the word ‘niggardly’ or the term ‘chain migration’ are considered racist, so what Barr was or was not thinking was immaterial. She was fired. Her new show canceled. And a couple hundred people who were in the crafts that supported the show were out of work.

I’ve always loathed Barr (I’m blocked by her on Twitter) and I haven’t watched a television sitcom–other than Seinfeld reruns–in going on a decade. I don’t think she is a conservative or a free speech martyr. But you don’t have to be a genius to see what is happening here. ABC’s parent company just agreed to re-employ Keith Olbermann as a host on ESPN. In terms of tweets, Olbermann is quite prolific:

The goofy douchebag Stephen Colbert was called out for directing anti-homosexual insults at Donald Trump.

And last night there was this:

Now, for all the mouthbreathing stupidity in it, this defense of Bee has a point:

https://twitter.com/Rubestysis/status/1002200380082712583

Let’s do a thought experiment. If Roseanne Barr had called Valerie Jarrett a “feckless c—” would the outcome have been different? No. It wouldn’t. She would have been fired just as fast. And suppose Roseanne had been on a diatribe against Condoleezza Rice or Clarence Thomas or Ben Carson and used the “Planet of the Apes” reference would she have been fired? No freakin way. She would have been given awards for “speaking truth to power.” (And we know that because of the public verbal abuse all three of those persons have suffered with no ill effects on the offender.)

I think we can say with some degree of certainty that ABC didn’t give a rat’s ass about what Roseanne Barr said, but they cared very much about who she said it about.

This gets back to the cancellation of the show. Roseanne’s show was making a lot of people in Hollywood angry because it may have been intended to lampoon working class America but working-class America adopted the show and made it a commercial success. Nothing bothers Hollywood more than having its own joke turned back on it. You don’t have to like or defend Barr, her tweet, her career, or her show to understand what is going on here. This is simply the entertainment industry, and the media, closing ranks to punish someone who offended one of their icons and, as a bonus, show the people who liked her show who calls the shots.

[Full Disclosure: I don’t have a problem with tribalism, in fact, I consider myself to be an out and proud tribalist, but I object when it is tarted up as high minded principle.]

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