On the evening of July 25, 1990, Roseanne Barr got behind the microphone on the field before a San Diego Padres baseball game, delivered one of the worst public renditions of the National Anthem ever heard and when done, grabbed her crotch and spit. Barr intended this to be a satirical jab at the behavior of baseball players but almost everyone else (including President George H.W. Bush) took it as a disrespectful display towards the anthem. It was during the height of Barr’s “Roseanne” show and she and the show survived.
Since then, Barr has made similar misjudgments with comments regarding the 9/11 terrorist attacks and doing a photo session for “Heeb” magazine where she dressed as Adolf Hitler. She said she could do such a satire because she herself is Jewish and she was mocking Hitler not celebrating him.
Barr made all of her previous public gaffes practically insignificant on Monday with a Twitter post that finally crossed the line by anyone’s standards.
Why Barr chose now to make such an abhorrent and useless comment about a person so far removed from the news cycle is beyond baffling. The reboot of her show did so well that ABC ordered a follow-up season after the airing of just two new episodes. Within hours of the tweet and despite Barr’s deleting it and replacing it with an apology, ABC wisely and summarily cancelled the new “Roseanne.”
There are going to be some who will not in any way agree with Barr’s comment but also support her right to make it. Like Colin Kaepernick, Barr and everyone else’s comments or acts of protest are protected by the First Amendment but this same amendment won’t prevent an employer from going into damage-control mode to protect their brand. ABC (and parent company Disney) had no other choice but to cancel their most popular scripted show in years.
It’s way too soon to say for sure, but Barr could suffer the same fate as that of Bill Cosby in the wake of the multiple sexual assault charges made against him. Reruns of “The Cosby Show” were yanked from syndication thus depriving him of any future royalties but for a man as wealthy as Cosby, this resulted in a minimal hit to his net worth. The same cannot be said for the other cast members of “The Cosby Show” whose main source of income were these royalties.
In addition to losing out on salaries for the rest of this season, those from the now aborted next season, the remaining “Roseanne” cast members will be paying for their leading lady’s blunder if the reruns of the first incarnation of the show are pulled from syndication.
What Barr did on Monday will go down as one of the most stupid, avoidable, self-inflected career killers in the history of entertainment. Not only is she taking down her current cast members with her, other victims will also include the dozens if not hundreds of writers, directors, producers, technical professionals, stage hands, marketing personnel and anyone else remotely involved with the production of “Roseanne.”
In her apology Barr stated she’s quitting Twitter which is the equivalent of an arsonist saying they are going to avoid playing with fire after burning down 100 houses. If there is anything good to come from Barr’s actions today, it might be in seeing less bonehead tweets from vacuous celebrities.
Michael Clark has written for over 30 local and national media outlets and is currently the only newspaper-based film critic providing original content in the Atlanta Top 10 media marketplace and he recently co-founded the Atlanta Film Critics Circle. Over the last two decades, Mr. Clark has written over 3,500 movie reviews and film related articles for the Gwinnett Daily Post and is one of the scant few conservative-minded U.S. critics. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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