Late Monday night, comedian Roseanne Barr went on a vitriolic Twitter rampage that included a racist tweet aimed at a former Obama aide, Valerie Jarrett.
In response to an unsubstantiated claim about CIA spies, the star tweeted, “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”
The comedian later apologized to “all Americans” for her insensitive message.
By midafternoon, “Roseanne” was canceled by ABC. ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said in a statement, “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”
Before the network’s announcement, comedian Wanda Sykes said on Twitter that she would be leaving the show. She served as a consultant for the first season, which ended last week. A second season was initially announced not long after the reboot’s impressive viewer numbers.
Roseanne – the character – has morphed into a kind of modern-day Archie Bunker, the patriarch of “All in the Family,” who didn’t trust his nonwhite neighbors and mocked his more liberally minded children.
Whitney Cummings, the show’s executive producer, told the Los Angeles Times, “My brain is very attracted to the things that make people uncomfortable, that make people laugh, that piss people off.”
It’s a statement that smacks of white privilege. Creators of color would likely not be given such a freedom to “piss people off” in the same manner.
The incident feels egregious in light of how ABC allowed Barr to behave under the guise of a boundary-pushing comedian.
Meanwhile, ABC shelved a “Blackish” episode that dealt with the topic of athletes taking a knee during the national anthem and how black men are treated in the United States.
That was considered too controversial, but casual racism both on and off the screen had gotten a pass.