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ABC cancels ‘Roseanne’ after Roseanne Barr tweets racist insult about Valerie Jarrett

Swift action was needed, but should it ever have come to this in the first place?

4:08 PMShould it ever have gotten this far in the first place?

ABC canceled the second season of its Roseanne reboot Monday after its star, Roseanne Barr, tweeted a racist insult about former Obama White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.

Barr called Jarrett the baby of “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes.” She tweeted an apology Monday morning, calling the statement a “bad joke.”

Within hours, Wanda Sykes, who had been a consulting producer on the show and was reportedly slated to take over the writing room in the show’s second season, tweeted that she would not be returning, essentially announcing that she had quit.

“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” ABC president Channing Dungey said in a one-sentence statement to the press shortly after Sykes’ tweet. Dungey is the first black woman to preside over a broadcast network.

On one hand, it’s easy to say this is exactly what should have happened. But I’m not so sure ABC should be applauded here. Barr made plenty of hateful quips on Twitter before the network hired her for the Roseanne reboot. What did they think was going to happen?

ABC has long branded itself as “America’s Network.” The decision to invest in a newly MAGA-fied Roseanne seemed to suggest that the network was accommodating a portion of the populace that has come to be associated with racialized violence, such as in Charlottesville, Virginia. Tuesday morning, in an essay on the third season of Queen Sugar, I took Dungey to task for giving Barr so much leeway while refusing to extend the same freedom to black-ish creator Kenya Barris. After all, it was under Dungey’s leadership that Barr’s show included a joke directed at fellow ABC sitcoms Fresh Off the Boat and black-ish, essentially reducing them to little more than Asian and black versions of “normal” white families.

At the Television Critics Association press tour in January, Barr’s pre-reboot tweeting prompted questions. After all, Barr had tweeted a story from conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ InfoWars site claiming that President Donald Trump would have won the popular vote had “5.7 Million Illegals” not voted in the 2016 presidential election. She called intersectionality a “degenerate pseudo philosophy of fake left” and shared multiple tweets best characterized as transphobic and Islamophobic, calling Muslim immigrants “savages.” She trafficked in the Seth Rich murder conspiracy.

When challenged, Barr and the rest of the writers and cast present, including showrunner Whitney Cummings, gamely laughed off her unhinged screeds. The problem wasn’t what Barr was saying, was the implication, but that she was saying it on Twitter. Barr informed the press at TCA that she and her children had found a solution: to take away her phone and change her Twitter password, as if that would somehow prevent Barr’s Islamophobia from seeping into the show. (Spoiler alert: It didn’t.) In January, her bigotry was distasteful but it wasn’t disqualifying. Why not?

ABC spent months building anticipation for Roseanne’s return, and it worked. The show’s reboot debuted to an audience of 27.3 million viewers, absolutely gobsmacking numbers in our age of streaming, DVR and video-on-demand. The network quickly greenlit the now-canceled second season. But its all-too-predictable ugly collapse should leave the executives of America’s Network seriously asking themselves: Was it worth it?

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4:08 PMShould it ever have gotten this far in the first place?

ABC canceled the second season of its Roseanne reboot Monday after its star, Roseanne Barr, tweeted a racist insult about former Obama White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.

Barr called Jarrett the baby of “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes.” She tweeted an apology Monday morning, calling the statement a “bad joke.”

Within hours, Wanda Sykes, who had been a consulting producer on the show and was reportedly slated to take over the writing room in the show’s second season, tweeted that she would not be returning, essentially announcing that she had quit.

“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” ABC president Channing Dungey said in a one-sentence statement to the press shortly after Sykes’ tweet. Dungey is the first black woman to preside over a broadcast network.

On one hand, it’s easy to say this is exactly what should have happened. But I’m not so sure ABC should be applauded here. Barr made plenty of hateful quips on Twitter before the network hired her for the Roseanne reboot. What did they think was going to happen?

ABC has long branded itself as “America’s Network.” The decision to invest in a newly MAGA-fied Roseanne seemed to suggest that the network was accommodating a portion of the populace that has come to be associated with racialized violence, such as in Charlottesville, Virginia. Tuesday morning, in an essay on the third season of Queen Sugar, I took Dungey to task for giving Barr so much leeway while refusing to extend the same freedom to black-ish creator Kenya Barris. After all, it was under Dungey’s leadership that Barr’s show included a joke directed at fellow ABC sitcoms Fresh Off the Boat and black-ish, essentially reducing them to little more than Asian and black versions of “normal” white families.

At the Television Critics Association press tour in January, Barr’s pre-reboot tweeting prompted questions. After all, Barr had tweeted a story from conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ InfoWars site claiming that President Donald Trump would have won the popular vote had “5.7 Million Illegals” not voted in the 2016 presidential election. She called intersectionality a “degenerate pseudo philosophy of fake left” and shared multiple tweets best characterized as transphobic and Islamophobic, calling Muslim immigrants “savages.” She trafficked in the Seth Rich murder conspiracy.

When challenged, Barr and the rest of the writers and cast present, including showrunner Whitney Cummings, gamely laughed off her unhinged screeds. The problem wasn’t what Barr was saying, was the implication, but that she was saying it on Twitter. Barr informed the press at TCA that she and her children had found a solution: to take away her phone and change her Twitter password, as if that would somehow prevent Barr’s Islamophobia from seeping into the show. (Spoiler alert: It didn’t.) In January, her bigotry was distasteful but it wasn’t disqualifying. Why not?

ABC spent months building anticipation for Roseanne’s return, and it worked. The show’s reboot debuted to an audience of 27.3 million viewers, absolutely gobsmacking numbers in our age of streaming, DVR and video-on-demand. The network quickly greenlit the now-canceled second season. But its all-too-predictable ugly collapse should leave the executives of America’s Network seriously asking themselves: Was it worth it?

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4:08 PMShould it ever have gotten this far in the first place?

ABC canceled the second season of its Roseanne reboot Monday after its star, Roseanne Barr, tweeted a racist insult about former Obama White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.

Barr called Jarrett the baby of “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes.” She tweeted an apology Monday morning, calling the statement a “bad joke.”

Within hours, Wanda Sykes, who had been a consulting producer on the show and was reportedly slated to take over the writing room in the show’s second season, tweeted that she would not be returning, essentially announcing that she had quit.

“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” ABC president Channing Dungey said in a one-sentence statement to the press shortly after Sykes’ tweet. Dungey is the first black woman to preside over a broadcast network.

On one hand, it’s easy to say this is exactly what should have happened. But I’m not so sure ABC should be applauded here. Barr made plenty of hateful quips on Twitter before the network hired her for the Roseanne reboot. What did they think was going to happen?

ABC has long branded itself as “America’s Network.” The decision to invest in a newly MAGA-fied Roseanne seemed to suggest that the network was accommodating a portion of the populace that has come to be associated with racialized violence, such as in Charlottesville, Virginia. Tuesday morning, in an essay on the third season of Queen Sugar, I took Dungey to task for giving Barr so much leeway while refusing to extend the same freedom to black-ish creator Kenya Barris. After all, it was under Dungey’s leadership that Barr’s show included a joke directed at fellow ABC sitcoms Fresh Off the Boat and black-ish, essentially reducing them to little more than Asian and black versions of “normal” white families.

At the Television Critics Association press tour in January, Barr’s pre-reboot tweeting prompted questions. After all, Barr had tweeted a story from conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ InfoWars site claiming that President Donald Trump would have won the popular vote had “5.7 Million Illegals” not voted in the 2016 presidential election. She called intersectionality a “degenerate pseudo philosophy of fake left” and shared multiple tweets best characterized as transphobic and Islamophobic, calling Muslim immigrants “savages.” She trafficked in the Seth Rich murder conspiracy.

When challenged, Barr and the rest of the writers and cast present, including showrunner Whitney Cummings, gamely laughed off her unhinged screeds. The problem wasn’t what Barr was saying, was the implication, but that she was saying it on Twitter. Barr informed the press at TCA that she and her children had found a solution: to take away her phone and change her Twitter password, as if that would somehow prevent Barr’s Islamophobia from seeping into the show. (Spoiler alert: It didn’t.) In January, her bigotry was distasteful but it wasn’t disqualifying. Why not?

ABC spent months building anticipation for Roseanne’s return, and it worked. The show’s reboot debuted to an audience of 27.3 million viewers, absolutely gobsmacking numbers in our age of streaming, DVR and video-on-demand. The network quickly greenlit the now-canceled second season. But its all-too-predictable ugly collapse should leave the executives of America’s Network seriously asking themselves: Was it worth it?