Side Note

Good riddance to racist Roseanne

Roseanne Barr at the ABC TCA Winter 2018 Party at Langham Huntington Hotel on January 8, 2018 in Pasadena, CA.

Roseanne Barr at the ABC TCA Winter 2018 Party at Langham Huntington Hotel on January 8, 2018 in Pasadena, CA.

After months of giving a primetime network platform to one of America’s most famous celebrity racists, ABC has announced that it is cancelling Roseanne because she tweeted something explicitly racist. Roseanne Barr, the show’s star, has received both praise and criticism since the revival of her classic show premiered in March to massive ratings, but it took one tweet to bring it it down. “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj”, she wrote this morning, referring to former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett, which got the network to finally pull the plug. “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey wrote in a statement.

Like most black immigrant families living in the U.S. during the show’s original run, mine was not one to gather around the TV set to watch Roseanne together every week. But in preparation for the highly-anticipated revival, I fell in love with the original series through several marathons of the episodes available online. However, once the show finally premiered, it didn’t recapture the homey, working-class charm that was the backbone of its first eight seasons. The revival’s lack of appeal to someone like me was unsurprising, considering Barr’s well-documented right-wing shift, and I got out before plotlines like “the surprisingly human Muslims next door” and “migrant workers stole our jobs” emerged only a couple episodes later.

Now, ABC has finally caught up to what anti-racist commentators and (checks notes) ROSEANNE’S OWN STATEMENTS have been telling us all along: She does not believe in the dignity of all human beings and supports violent, Islamophobic ideals. (That isn’t even to mention her incessant peddling of the baseless, insane QAnon conspiracy theory.) Who saw it coming? Well, everyone did. And though ABC has made the right decision in taking the show off the air (talent agency ICM Partners has also dropped the star), the entire action is wrapped up in several layers of cynicism. The network knew who they were propping up, but even with the cancellation, the ratings and advertising dollars they’ve raked in have made their dubious show of good faith in Barr literally worth it.