The Age of Accountability: From #MeToo to "Roseanne" Cancellation

By Elana Goodwin on May 30, 2018

When Roseanne Barr tweeted to her followers, and the world at large, on May 29, 2018, that former President Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett looked like a baby produced by the “Muslim Brotherhood & Planet of the Apes,” she probably wasn’t expecting what happened next.

via Wikimedia Commons

Within hours, dozens of celebrities and other social media users had tweeted their condemnation of the comedian and actress, with many calling for the cancellation of her show “Roseanne,” which ABC had recently rebooted and which had been the number-one show on TV. Even Barr’s costars on the show tweeted their disgust of her statement, agreed the show should be cancelled, or posted their intentions of quitting.

ABC Entertainment President announced later on Tuesday that “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.” ABC also suspended its campaign for the series to be considered for nomination at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards.

Shortly after that, the show was pulled out of syndication by CMT, the Paramount Network, TV Land, and more channels. Hulu removed the show from its streaming services. ICM Partners, a management company, declared they were cutting ties with Barr and that she’d no longer be a client.

In response, Barr apologized and stated she was leaving Twitter while maintaining that her tweet was a joke, in poor taste. Her self-imposed exile from Twitter didn’t last long as by Wednesday, May 30, she’d already started up a tweetstorm, blaming Ambien for her racist tweet, defending herself and saying she was not a racist, and continuing to tweet and re-tweet those who supported her.

After Roseanne tried to blame Ambien for her tweet, the company behind the drug, Sanofi, issued a clapback statement: “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”

Her actions seemed manic, to say the least, and she clearly didn’t foresee the consequences that followed her tweet. But in the current era we live in, shouldn’t she have somewhat anticipated the repercussions?

“Roseanne” originally aired from 1988 to 1997, and those comments likely would have had little or no ramifications back then. In 2018, with the popularity and widespread usage of social media, the increasing awareness of what’s politically correct and what’s not, the growing sensitivity to comments that are derogatory, the rise of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements and their reverberations throughout the country, there was no way what Roseanne Barr tweeted would be swept under the rug.

via Pixabay.com

Look at what’s happening to fellow Hollywood bigwigs and celebs Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Jeffrey Tambor, and more. They’re all in the news — and not for good reasons — or they’ve disappeared from the spotlight completely. All have been accused of various levels of sexual harassment thanks to the #MeToo movement and all have been blacklisted.

When you say something or do something as a public figure — people are watching. And they will remember — as will the Internet. Even if you tweet something for a minute, as a celebrity, you can be sure that it was retweeted or screenshot before you deleted it. Thanks to social media, sharing thoughts and opinions has never been easier or faster. But that also means we’re living in a time of heightened accountability.

So did ABC do the right thing? Absolutely. The show is called “Roseanne” after all, and when the star of the show is tweeting racist comments, it’s a reflection of the show that’s named for her. If the show wasn’t centered around Barr and was named after one of the other characters, ABC would’ve probably just fired Barr from the show and the world and Twitter would’ve been appeased. Life would’ve resumed.

Instead, people recognize that no one forced Roseanne Barr to tweet what she did — as much as she may want to blame Ambien. No one forced any of the many men accused of sexual harassment, assault, etc., to do what they did. And in the past, they may have been excused for and gotten away with their actions. But this is a new era — one where there are real consequences and individuals are held responsible and accountable. And “Roseanne”? The show, and its namesake, deserved to be barred.

By Elana Goodwin

Uloop Writer
I am currently serving as the Director/Managing Editor for Uloop News. I've been part of the Uloop family since 2013 and in my current role, I recruit writers, edit articles, manage interns, and lead our National Team, among other duties. When I'm not writing or editing, I love being outside, reading, and photography! I have a Bachelor's degree in English with a double-minor in Sociology and Criminology & Criminal Justice from The Ohio State University. If you have questions or just want to chat, don't hesitate to reach out! Email me at elana@uloop.com.

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