When I heard yesterday that trashy racist Roseanne Barr had been summarily tossed into the trash, I wanted to high-five the world. It’s great to know that sometimes, even in this dark American hour, there is a steep price to be paid for repugnant Trumpian behavior.
Granted, we’re stuck with Trump himself. His racism and fact-averse demagoguery will plague us for the foreseeable future, and he sets the tone for fans like Roseanne. But her precipitous downfall does send the message that decency is not dead, that civility is still prized, and that even though it’s constitutional free speech for a celebrity to equate an esteemed black woman with an ape, the celebrity’s employer is also free to recoil in horror — and conclude that it would be immoral to conduct further business with this despicable individual.
Within hours of ABC’s speedy decision to axe Roseanne’s rebooted show (a decision made within hours of her tweeted smear of ex-Obama aide Valerie Jarrett), Roseanne’s agent dropped her, Hulu dropped her, and various cable nets like TVLand pulled her reruns from syndication. Her career may well be finished, and good riddance, because she has only herself to blame.
Five months ago, she promised to speak on her show for the Trump constituency: “It was working-class people who elected Trump, so I felt that, yeah, that was very real, and something that needed to be discussed.” But she turned out to be a terrible Trumpworld ambassador — because predictably, like so many Trump fans (not all, but many), she was incapable of masking the toxic traits at the core of her character.
Somewhere in this benighted nation there must be an eloquent Trumper who can defend this president and his followers, without resorting to blatant lies and racism. I’m still waiting. Because Roseanne blew the audition.
Not only did she tweet that Jarrett was birthed by a movie ape, she also “joked” that the other parent hailed from the Muslim Brotherhood (Jarrett has no links to the Muslim Brotherhood). She has also retweeted lies claiming that Jarrett’s mother was a communist. And why was she so fixated on Jarrett in the first place? Because some of the liars on social media have been falsely blaming Obama for launching a “deep state” conspiracy against Trump, and Jarrett used to work for Obama, so therefore … whatever.
Early yesterday, Roseanne also tweeted that Chelsea Clinton was related by marriage to right-wing bogeyman George Soros (Chelsea is not related to him by marriage), and she tweeted this gem at Chelsea: “Soros is a nazi who turned in his fellow Jews 2 be murdered in German concentration camps & stole their wealth-were you aware of that?” (Soros was 13 years old when his fellow Hungarian Jews were murdered.)
Actually, Roseanne has long been bad for the Trumpers. She did them no favors by behaving like an idiot. Like the time, last year, when she retweeted the crackpot lie that 5.7 million undocumented immigrants voted in the 2016 election (even Trump’s delusional stat was only 3 million); or the time, this past March, when she retweeted some garbage about how a Parkland high school survivor had supposedly given the Nazi salute. The worst we can say about ABC is that it knew about her proclivities when it hired her to help it make money.
But even some conservative commentators detest not just Roseanne, but also the Trumpers who’ve championed Roseanne. Jonathan V. Last writes: “She is, at best, a vulgarian and, at worst, a cretin. Remember the crotch-grabbing national anthem? … Remember her dressing up as Hitler? … And yet, a bunch of Republican types … all decided that, by gum, Roseanne represented the poor, the dispossessed, the great, happily deplorable, Electoral College majority. Because, #ratings.” Those Republican types included Trump, who regaled her ratings, and his jerky son Junior, who gleefully retweeted her worst abominations.
And yet it turns out — hallelujah! — that some behavioral boundaries cannot be crossed after all.
ABC reaped roughly $45 million in ad revenue from Roseanne’s first rebooted season, and it was jonesing for more this fall. But the network — backed to the hilt yesterday by its parent, The Walt Disney Company — quickly determined that decent members of the public would not abide the continued high-profile employment of a vile loon. That would be bad for Disney’s image, and why risk mass boycotts of its far-flung properties, such as ESPN and the Star Wars franchise?
So Disney sanctioned the firing. By the way, remember how Roseanne styled herself as a champion of the working class? She just put 200 people out of work. (This morning — I kid you not — she blamed her racism on Ambien.)
Which brings us to the most fabulous quote of the week, voiced by a former NBC and Fox executive named Preston Beckman. Referring to Roseanne, he said: “She’s a pimple on the tushy of The Walt Disney Company and they lanced it.”
Wow. These Hollywood types could sure teach the spineless Republican Congress a thing or two.
Which brings us to the moral of this story: You can’t showcase your racism and expect to keep your job — unless, of course, you’re the president of the United States.