Racist Tweets cause the Removal of “Roseanne”

Racist Tweets cause the Removal of Roseanne

Alex Voight-Shelley, Staff Writer

After a series of racist tweets on May 29th, Roseanne Barr was fired from ABC and her hit show was canceled. “Roseanne” starred Roseanne Barr and John Goodman. “Roseanne” had been cancelled previously and had just recently returned to ABC after 20 years off the air. It was the network’s top rated show before it was cancelled only hours after the star’s racist tweets. “The battle against bigotry is not just about bigots,” ABC TV critic James Poniewozik wrote. “When an institution like ABC takes a stand — in prime time, where people notice it — that matters.” Cancelling “Roseanne” was a step forward in the battle against indecorous speech. However, this is not the first time that Roseanne Barr has verbalized racism. So why wasn’t she stopped before?

In 2013 she compared Susan Rice, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and national security advisor to the Obama administration, to an ape. She apologized at that time and she removed her tweet. Her apology in 2013 was remarkably similar to the one she posted the day after her most recent controversial tweet:

Roseanne Barr, 2018: I apologize for comparing Valerie Jarrett, a black woman, to an ape. I should have known better. Forgive me—my joke was in bad taste

Roseanne Barr, 2013: I apologize for comparing Susan Rice, a black woman, to an ape. I should have known

betterpic.twitter.com/P10YtYH9Sc— Jeff Yang
(@originalspin) May 29, 2018

Roseanne’s 2013 tweet was met with limited retribution, as were many of her previous comments regarding Muslims, Jews, and African Americans.  So, what has changed in five years?

Did our society become desensitized to controversial issues because they are so frequent? Our news casts, our Twitter accounts, and our televisions are bombarded with information that should horrify us, and yet we scan over it with relative indifference. Another school shooting, another Catholic pedophile, another presidential denial. We are inundated by these stories so often that they have become the new normal. When a sitting president can openly berate people and consistently lie on social media without consequences, we have become attuned to a society of tolerance.  Which is why, when the ABC network cancelled the Roseanne Show only hours after her racist tweet, it became a wake-up call for our moral values. This decision was the correct one. The network chose morals over money, and, as a consequence created a teaching moment for all of society. There can be no tolerance for the defamation of others, and those that choose to do so should face the consequences.