Roseanne Barr made a racist tweet and within hours, ABC canceled her show. Her show was leading in the ratings and making lots of money, and none of it mattered. And it’s all because of the Black Panther movie.
Although ABC made an announcement about Roseanne’s tweet being, “inconsistent with our values,” I don’t know how credible that is. Long before she tweeted about Valerie Jarrett being the offspring of an ape, she referred to Susan Rice an an ape in 2013. ABC knew who and what Roseanne Barr was when they green-lit her show. They simply decided that what they really valued was money.
Roseanne has made several statements in the past couple days saying, “I am not a racist,” and “I have never been a racist.” I don’t doubt that she believes that in her heart. She and many others have redefined racism in their own minds such that almost nothing qualifies. Even her apology was racist, she said she was only joking about Valerie Jarrett’s looks when calling her an ape. But back to Black Panther.
The Black Panther movie just dropped $1.3 Billion with a capital “B” in box office receipts in theaters worldwide, stepping on toes and snatching edges while doing so. With the sequel in the planning stages, ABC’s parent company, The Walt Disney Company, has to be concerned with its ability to renegotiate to bring back Director Ryan Coogler, and get it’s mostly black cast to return including Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong and Letitia Wright and to ignore Roseanne’s racism as they discuss their salaries and future relationships with the company. Black Panther may have made some of them stars, but their marketability will now travel. It might get a little harder to say, “Wakanda Forever” with the bitter taste of Roseanne’s tweets in their mouth.
I wish I could say it was the threat of an economic boycott of ABC. They probably had as little to fear from that as the NFL did over Colin Kaepernick. They do need the ability to get deals done and to at least appear to have some of those values they referred to. If Black America ever did wield its economic strength like a sledgehammer, it would be something to behold! Quite a few celebrities are building their brand on “not being politically correct” or “telling it like it is.” They would be well served to pay attention to what just happened to Roseanne Barr. Just because your President seems to be getting away with it on a regular basis, doesn’t mean that you can or that he won’t eventually get his.