We didn’t have any particular brief for Roseanne Barr when she was relevant earlier in her career, and we didn’t particularly fall for the pro-Trump act she was putting on in positioning the reboot of her ABC show earlier this year. And we cautioned others not to fall into the trap of embracing Barr just because she chose to stand out among the Hollywood crowd by not bashing the president in nonstop fashion.
That said, this is a mess.
ABC says it’s cancelling “Roseanne” following an “abhorrent” tweet from the show’s star.
ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey announced Tuesday: “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”
The decision came hours after star Roseanne Barr drew sharp condemnation for a tweet on former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, whom she compared to a child of “The Planet of the Apes” and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The tweet has been deleted, but what it said was “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” Barr was jumped on immediately and called a racist, and her answer was that “Muslims are not a race.”
Which missed the mark.
Left-wing African-American comedienne Wanda Sykes, who’s listed as a producer of the Roseanne reboot, immediately said she wouldn’t be returning to the show. At that point, the rout was on and this happened…
Which wasn’t good enough. ABC canceled the show lock, stock and barrel.
This despite the fact its ratings were quite good…
While the show’s producers have denied that “Roseanne” explicitly favors the president, Barr has spoken of the critical importance of her show encapsulating the mindset of Middle America that propelled Trump to victory. “It was the working-class people who elected Trump,” she recently said. “I felt that was very real and something that needed to be discussed.”
The ratings reflected this aim. The show took in an estimated 18 million viewers from its premiere. The top U.S. TV markets where “Roseanne” rated best were in states handily carried by Trump in the election. No. 1 was Tulsa in Oklahoma, which Trump won with 65.3% of the vote. It was followed by Cincinnati, Ohio and Kansas City, Missouri.
Media analyst Brad Adgate estimated that when on-demand services and DVR are taken into account, ratings for the “Roseanne” premiere could exceed 25 million viewers. He attributed this to the “familiarity” of “Roseanne” which he likened to a “movie sequel.”
But he added “Roseanne’s” political explicitness was unusual for network TV. “Usually entertainment shows put the ‘broad’ in broadcast and don’t really go in that polarizing space as it might alienate parts of the country,” he said. “But in this fragmented industry, it’s playing well in middle America and we may start to see more examples of this.”
The fact is that Roseanne Barr was always trashy, and that Barr always has gone out of her way to stoke controversy as a means of becoming relevant. That she attempted to appeal to Trump voters as a base of support for her show only points out how far left Hollywood has become; it doesn’t make her a worthy occupier of space inside the tent.
And Barr’s tweet about Valerie Jarrett, who is every bit as loathsome a figure as Barr makes her out to be, is not acceptable. Valerie Jarrett is a threat to American society not because she’s black but because she’s a far-left ideologue with designs on transforming the country into something it has never been. You don’t win the argument against Valerie Jarrett by accusing her of being an ape.
Nobody on the conservative side should attempt to make Roseanne Barr into a martyr. That said, the speed with which ABC dumped her show today does offer a window into the stranglehold political correctness has on the management at Disney, the network’s parent company. That should be noted and factored into decisions about viewership and patronage of Disney properties going forward.