Funny, not funny

ABC's Roseanne reboot has been canceled after racist comments were tweeted by the show's star

Comedy is in the eye of the beholder. This wasn’t funny.

ABC canceled the wildly popular reboot of the “Roseanne” show after its namesake, Roseanne Barr, tweeted out a stunningly tasteless and racist comment about Valerie Jarrett, the former advisor and close friend of former president Barack Obama.

Barr is an unabashed supporter of President Trump and her Twitter history, not to mention her official website, are replete with criticisms, attacks, and conspiracies about anything that counters the right-wing manifesto. She’s even questioned the Boston Marathon bombing as a “false flag” attack. Some say her tweet about Jarrett was predictable but if those people think they are prescient, the MegaMillions jackpot is closing in on $100 million. Go play those numbers in your head.

That ABC took swift, firm, and final action is itself stunning, given the success of the revival and the money the network was set to make from a full season next year. Only dyed in the wool Roseanne fans and InfoWars aficionados are making the claim that she is a victim here.

The one predictable piece of this is those who claim there’s a First Amendment issue going on that ABC is stomping all over, with many overlooking the fact that it applies to government, not private entities. Many of these same people, though, are applauding the NFL for forcing players to stand and respect the national anthem. In a whose-ox-is-being-gored moment, they also overlook the time Barr performed (sang would be too generous a term) the national anthem before a San Diego Padres game, then finished by grabbing her crotch and spitting, not a general sign of respect.

Some are also claiming that ABC’s actions are unprecedented in canceling a money-making show in the middle of a successful run over a political maelstrom. Unprecedented? Hello? 1969? CBS and Smother Brothers?

Besides Barr, who said she was leaving Twitter but appears to have remained, a couple other people are having bad days over this. The makers of the sleep aid drug Ambien are likely cringing over her claim that she was “Ambien tweeting.” The drug is getting bad name as more and more people are using it as a defense for maladroit behavior. Sanofi, the manufacturer, said “racism is not a known side effect” of taking the drug.

Meet the Author

Jack Sullivan

Senior Investigative Reporter, CommonWealth

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is a veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

A Boston native, Jack has lived in Massachusetts all his life. He was a major in English and history with a minor in political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A father and grandfather, he lives in Plymouth with his wife, Susan.

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is a veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

A Boston native, Jack has lived in Massachusetts all his life. He was a major in English and history with a minor in political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A father and grandfather, he lives in Plymouth with his wife, Susan.

Red Sox chairman and co-owner Tom Werner is also being covered with the mud here. Werner is the executive producer of the show and made a fortune on the first iteration, prompting him to bring it back for the reboot. Werner issued a statement that he agreed with the ABC decision and hoped that Barr “seeks the help she so clearly needs.” Apparently, this is a new revelation to Werner. He also was the executive producer of “The Cosby Show” at the time that Bill Cosby was being quietly sued and settling cases for sexual assault. Again, Werner said he never knew.

Predictable or not, the bottom line is the old saw about sleeping with dogs. Get out the flea powder.