No Roseanne, Ambien Doesn’t Make You Racist

In what can only be described as a set of strange but inevitable turn of events, news broke yesterday that ABC’s new Roseanne revival series was cancelled for good.

After being off the air for nearly 20 years, fans were overjoyed to hear about Roseanne’s return to network television. And while it’s been no secret that the show appealed more so to a conservative audience, and represented a segment of people not often seen in a network television and mainstream media, the creator herself crossed a major line on Twitter that spelled the show’s eventual demise. It’s been no secret that Roseanne Barr and Donald Trump are avid fans of each other, and both known to bully and antagonize liberals on social media and otherwise.

The tweet in question has since been deleted, but it didn’t take long for people everywhere to react to it - and most were left somewhere on the spectrum between cringing and boiling over. The “VJ” she’s referring to, of course, is Valerie Jarrett, the former senior adviser to Barack Obama during his presidency and considered one of his most influential aides. It as apparently in response to a thread discussing Wikileaks and Julian Assange.

 Photo taken from Twitter

Photo taken from Twitter

And while she attempted to respond and apologize for the tweet, it was too little too late. Within hours of the tweet, stars of the show like Emma Kenney reportedly contacted her agent about leaving the show, and Channing Dungey, the ABC’s entertainment president, officially gave Roseanne the boot. In a statement, Dungey tweeted:

“Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”

In response to this statement, Robert Iger, the chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, tweeted it, adding, “There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.” But of course the real kicker, as you may have heard by now, is her laughable response to her insensitive and inflammatory tweet: she’s not racist, she was on Ambien.

"guys I did something unforgiveable so do not defend me. It was 2 in the morning and I was ambien tweeting -- it was memorial day too -- i went 2 far & do not want it defended -- it was egregious Indefensible. I made a mistake I wish I hadn't but...don't defend it please."

And while it may be hard for old school fans to reconcile with how poorly Barr’s comedy and world views have aged, it’s important not to take excuses like this seriously. Sleep medication doesn’t make you racist; an overdeveloped sense of privilege and entitlement does. It’s important to give space in the entertainment industry for different ideas and viewpoints, but that should never extend to those that racist, backwards and harmful to others. Period.