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Here's Why ABC Did The Right Thing By Canceling 'Roseanne'

The popular revival was axed following Roseanne Barr's racially-charged tweet.

Here's Why ABC Did The Right Thing By Canceling 'Roseanne'
ABC

Some people shouldn't be on Twitter, and Roseanne Barr is certainly one of them.

On Tuesday, the controversial star wrote a racist tweet in which she stated that Valerie Jarrett, a former Obama advisor, looked like the "Muslim brotherhood & Planet of the Apes had a baby." After receiving significant backlash, Barr apologized and referred to her comment as a "bad joke." Many celebrities, including Sara Gilbertcondemned Barr's derogatory comment and ABC swiftly canceled the popular revival.

"Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show," ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey announced.

Minutes later, Gilbert issued a statement about Roseanne's cancelation. "This is incredibly sad and difficult for all of us, as we've created a show that we believe in, are proud of, and that audiences love — one that is separate and apart from the opinions and words of one cast member," wrote Gilbert.

Here's Why ABC Did The Right Thing By Canceling 'Roseanne'
ABC

It's no secret that Roseanne was the highest rated show of the 2017-2018 TV season. In fact, the series became a cultural monolith. That's precisely why its swift cancelation came as such a surprise. If you bring morals and ethics into play, Roseanne should have never been revived. Given Barr's unhinged and deeply problematic outbursts on Twitter, it's difficult to separate the artist from the art when she is so inherently stitched into the show's DNA. In this case, however, ABC has chosen not to fund a blatantly racist artist.

Other, far more inclusive shows like black-ish, Fresh Off the Boat, and Shonda Rhimes' easily digestible, assorted dramas are also featured on ABC. It is the only network in broadcast TV history that is headed by an African-American (Dungey) individual. In that sense, Barr’s vitriolic Tweet doesn't just reflect badly on Roseanne, but it also hurts these other shows by sharing a space with them.

One of the main justifications for bringing Roseanne back was to offer a sitcom that focused on economic diversity and cultural divisions. The show's original run was, indeed, groundbreaking, but things have changed drastically since then. Now, there are countless sitcoms that are far more politically and socially relevant. In fact, many of them are currently on air and some of them are featured on ABC. We're talking about The Goldbergs, The Middle, Speechless, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Mick, One Day at a Time, and Mom to name a few.

With better alternatives to choose from, there's no reason to keep a show alive that has reached its expiration date.

Here's Why ABC Did The Right Thing By Canceling 'Roseanne'
ABC

Undoubtedly, the Roseanne revival drove a stake through the show's legacy. It tried so hard to be heart-warming with its misguided intentions that it never found any heart. Roseanne 2.0 felt more like a reunion special than a modern-day revamp. Even Barr's trademark timing was off. She spent most of her time yelling punchlines at the furniture than noticing the other actors in the room with her.

What's worse? Barr previously revealed a desire to showcase a family that could get along despite their political and social differences. Oh, the irony is not lost on me here! Not only did the Roseanne revival heavily lean into stereotypes about minorities, but it also gave Barr a microphone to expand her reach.

Giving a major platform to someone who has furthered hateful beliefs is dangerous and wrong. Barr's racist tweet about Jarrett (among many others) is indefensible, and no one should bend over backwards to justify her behavior. 

A major cultural shift has come into play with Roseanne's cancelation. ABC's gutsy and well-intentioned decision has drawn a line in the sand and amplified the necessity of holding people accountable for their actions. It is also a clear stand against racism by a massive corporate conglomerate that could lose money because of this choice. Yet, canceling Roseanne feels remarkably just. It's the right thing to do, and I'm glad ABC had the balls to do it.

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