Roseanne was one of many TV shows that has been revived in recent years. When it aired in the states, it drew impressively high ratings, with the first episode alone gaining some 27 million viewers. It’s thought so many people tuned in to watch the show because of its more conservative values (an example of this is the titular character being a Trump supporter), in an age where many TV shows have more liberal characters and storylines. Despite the show’s huge success and there being a planned second revived series, the show was cancelled because of a tweet its star Roseanne sent out. In this tweet, she likened Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor from the Obama administration, to a hybrid of The Planet of the Apes and the Muslim brotherhood. Was it right the show was cancelled all because of a single tweet?
Yes – the content of the tweet was harmful
The president of ABC, the channel that aired Roseanne, described the tweet as ‘abhorrent, repugnant, and inconsistent with our values’. Various other public figures have also commented on it and criticised Roseanne for what she tweeted; some have said her tweet was in fact racist. Many have applauded ABC, saying that it was the right thing for them to do. They shouldn’t have honoured Roseanne with a second revived series for her show if she was going to cause them bad press by sending out tweets like this. Yes, it was a joke, but it was a joke she put out there herself. She didn’t tell it to a friend in private; she posted it on her public Twitter account for her millions of followers and the rest of the world to see. Whenever you make something public, you’re going to be judged for it and there’s always the chance that if it’s offensive, it’s going to have negative consequences.
No – she apologised and shouldn’t have faced such severe consequences
Roseanne did make a public apology for what she posted in her tweet, yet the decision to scrap the show and pull reruns from airing had already been made. Hulu, Laff, CMT, TV Land and Paramount Network all pulled both the original series and the revived one from their libraries and line-ups in the fallout of the tweet. Surely it’s wrong to deny viewers the chance to watch a TV show just because its main star tweeted one thing that might have upset a few people? It seems like these organisations, as well as ABC, have had a knee-jerk reaction and a very exaggerated one at that; they’ve made a huge mountain out of what should be a tiny molehill. Whatever you think of Roseanne’s tweet, it was a joke and however much in bad taste it may have been, she apologised for it and that should have been the end of it. The overreaction to it has made it seem a lot worse than what it actually is.
What do you think?
Should someone have a TV show cancelled because of a tweet? Should someone’s jokes, however offensive they may be, ever result in them losing work? Was Roseanne deserving of what happened, or should her apology have been taken seriously and her show saved from cancellation? Was this whole incident a storm in a teacup? Whatever your opinion on this, a clear message to take away is that if you put something on social media, you should always expect consequences, whether they’re positive or negative.