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Goodbye, 'Roseanne' - But Wait...

Updated on May 30, 2018
Christina St-Jean profile image

I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, and LGBT advocacy.

Controversy On And Off Air


Roseanne (Maybe) Learns She Should Use Social Media Powers For Good

Just like that, Roseanne is done.

As social media was clamoring for ABC to axe the popular series in the wake of comments made by Roseanne Barr, the face of the titular series, on Twitter, ABC ultimately made the decision to pull the plug on what had been a pretty decent return to television.

While I am not going to revisit Roseanne's comments, as they were repugnant and seem to be reflective of President Trump's America, it's still absolutely no surprise that Roseanne's comments have ultimately led to the cancellation of her rebooted show.

Roseanne has had a long history of prejudicial sorts of comments. According to Vox, Roseanne has been a longtime conspiracy theorist, in addition to slamming Israel and those who are Jewish. She has regularly gone on rants to denigrate African Americans, among other individuals and groups, and in short has been demonstrating behaviors that would definitely get someone fired.

To be sure, it was perhaps a bit surprising that Roseanne would be coming back to television stations, if for no other reason than her social media feed is rife with various and often inappropriate theories and comments. The character Roseanne would be more than a little difficult to separate from the woman herself, and why ABC chose to revive the show when the star herself has demonstrated such questionable behavior online over the years is a mystery, in some ways.

When Roseanne first premiered, people loved it. As I understand it, the reboot was pretty much well received as well. However, there's a significant difference between being a well-meaning woman who speaks her mind and simply speaking hateful rhetoric.

It's OK to disagree with someone's politics, and it's also okay to be forceful about that disagreement. It's also okay to admit you fundamentally dislike someone. Goodness knows that we have all been in a position that for whatever reason, there are people we just dislike, and that's also okay. However, any sort of disagreement or even dislike, particularly as we age, should steer clear of denigrating people in general - particularly if we're above the age of 3 or 4 and have grown away from the whole "oh, yeah? Well, you stink!" phase of our lives. Presumably, we have grown past the age where we insult people based on their race, their faith, their sexuality, or anything else along those lines. Clearly, Roseanne - and apparently so many others - need to learn that lesson.

Now, the Twitterverse - specifically, Roseanne supporters - has narrowed its lens to Bill Maher - the political pundit who rose to fame at first as a standup comedian, then as the host of Politically Correct With Bill Maher and, since 2003, as the host of Real Time With Bill Maher. Maher knows he didn't get to where he currently is by playing it safe, but there are now those saying that since Bill Maher commented that President Donald Trump looks as though his mother had sex with an orangutan - a comment that has far more to do with an apparent lack of intelligence and skin tone than it does with race - he, too, should be axed.

Here's the thing. While no one should be insulted due to matters of race, spirituality, or anything that might fall under a code of human rights - there are, for instance (at least in Canada, about which I can speak with a fair bit of knowledge, as I am Canadian), a series of prohibited grounds of discrimination - much has been made over the years about Trump's orange hue, which seems more to do with a spray tan than it does skin tone he inherited from his parents. There is no question - none whatsoever - that Roseanne's comments were very deliberate and targeted towards the person's race. That is the fundamental difference between Maher's comments about Trump's and Roseanne's about Valerie Jarrett, a former adviser to former President Barack Obama. The comparisons that Roseanne drew hearken back to a time where terrible comparisons were made between African Americans and apes, and while Maher should quite probably consider his words a little more carefully, his comparison simply has no basis in race.

Also, Bill Maher was once axed following a "joke" he made about 9/11, so it is also not as though he has been completely immune to executive decisions as a result of vitriolic comments he's made in the past.

"I'm leaving Twitter," Roseanne said in the immediate aftermath of the fallout from her so-called joke.

Right. The thing is, people who have made news as a result of comments they have made seem to have a tendency to do one of two things: they will either stick by their decision to leave the social media platform of their choice because they know bloody well what they've said or done was ultimately stupid, or they will soon be hungry for the spotlight again.

Here's hoping that when Roseanne resurfaces, there is some evidence that she's given her racist vitriol some consideration and is remorseful not because of the trouble she got into but because she's realized just how awful what she said was. It's unlikely that will be the case, but one can only hope.


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