Revered Disney Chief Officer Bob Iger made a simple statement this afternoon about his decision to cancel the new Roseanne series reboot on ABC based on her posting a rather racist comment on Twitter about former Obama White House advisor Valerie Jarret (weird, right?), saying “It took us about 2 hours to discuss the details. No time at all. Obviously a lot of people are going to lose their jobs because of Roseanne’s behavior and that’s never a good thing. But no, there’s no debate when it comes to doing what is morally right, at least not for us.”
It’s bold to stay committed to respect, basic human decency and the pursuit of noble goals in a society gone mad. So kudos to Mr. Iger. Was it fair? Well, that’s a debate that will probably rage on for years to come. But as long as the United States is still a capitalist democracy, hell yes it’s fair. Roseanne worked for Disney. Disney works for their shareholders, and they clearly know what said shareholders expect from them. Racism is not one of those things. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find anyone who delights in racism except for fringe elements of society. And though yes even their rights to free speech are protected, it doesn’t mean we have to hire them or even associate with them. Thank God for free market capitalism and democracy. If your check says Disney or ABC (one of its many subsidiaries) on it, then they have a right to fire you just as much as they do to hire you. Govern yourself accordingly.
What occurred to me at first was a little bit of shock — Roseanne just recently returned to mainstream relevance after two decades of being largely ignored. I’m personally not a fan. But couldn’t help but be happy for her. But now this…? Always controversial, her comment today wasn’t a funny joke as much as just a dumb jab. Albeit a peculiar and random one (Valerie Jarret? Really?) with an overtly racist tone. But then again modern American comedy is filled with offensive and shocking vulgarity and racism. Its rampant. And literally unwatchable if you have more refined tastes. So what’s the difference here? The platform? Twitter versus Comedy Central?
Perhaps there is just a line in the sand, for the moment still at least, that most people know not to cross. You either have a respectful compassion for those who’ve been thru a lot of pain and suffering, or you don’t. Especially today, when every Starbucks in the country is closed for special race relations training. (The fact that THAT is still necessary in modern America shows just how much work the country still has to do… As does the specific event that prompted this nationwide store closing.)
And the NFL… jeez what a clusterfuck they are. Last I checked being patriotic was a choice in a democratic country. Not an obligation. Forcing patriotism isn’t democracy. It’s fascism. We’ve seen this movie before.
For Disney’s part, I don’t necessarily believe anyone is questioning or infringing on Roseanne’s First Amendment Rights. They’re just exercising their own by deliberately choosing to not hire or work with her anymore. There’s too much at stake in today’s world. And they know it.
I’d even go further and say I don’t wholeheartedly believe Roseanne or people like her shouldn’t be allowed to make stupid racist comments if they want to. What comedian hasn’t? They push that envelope hard and blur the lines as a daily practice for their art, and are either rewarded ignored or punished for it. They’re artists. It’s their right in a free country.
So we let her rage on. She just can’t necessarily expect to be beloved followed respected or even befriended for it. That’s gonna hurt sometimes. It’ll be lonely. And in the process others will get hurt too. That sucks. But it’s her call ultimately.
– Posted by The Ambassador in the form of Ed Hale using BlogPress on an iPhone