Roseanne Gets The Boot! What’s That Say About Freedom Of Speech?

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The television show “Roseanne” had long been a huge hit for it’s outspoken star, Roseanne Barr. The way the show gave a voice to hard-working middle class families who didn’t necessarily have families like “The Conners” to identify with on TV elsewhere. From 1988 to 1997  the show did incredibly well, and TV Guide’s website even calls “Roseanne” the 32nd greatest TV series of all-time.  And so with the demand being there, the show received a reboot and premiered on March 27, 2018. Then, on May 29th it was announced the show was canceled, and this statement came from Disney CEO Robert Iger:

If you don’t know already, Roseanne sent out a tweet containing this statement: “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes  had a baby=vj.” The tweet was talking about former Senior Adviser to Barrack Obama, Valeria Jarrett. There is no need for an explanation of why the tweet is offensive, but just as an aside, the history of comparing Black people to apes goes to back to some of the origination of racist propaganda. So, it was a good move for Robert Iger to work swiftly in ending Barr’s show. Freedom of Speech allows you to say what you want, but that does not include incredibly hurtful or hatred statements that are intended to bully. But this story isn’t over just yet.

Of course, with the show receiving heaps of praise from US President Donald Trump, there are heated debates over whether it was right for the show to get canceled due to Barr’s terrible remarks. President Trump didn’t really take a strong stance on the show, rather stating that he felt he deserved an apology for the way people have talked about him on ABC.

President Trump’s statements did little in the way of condemning Barr, or really even addressing the statement she made directly. But as his influence is obviously huge, and there have been discussions set forth by the show’s Executive Producers to bring back the popular TV series as a spinoff with Roseanne Barr as part of the cast. Whether or not that would satisfy the viewers that do want the show back is hard to tell. And while freedom of speech becomes a big issue when someone is fired for things they say on social media, Iger is within his rights to do what he sees fit as Disney CEO. Barr later apologized for her statements, but also doubled down saying that the drug, Ambien, also had something to do with her racist tweet.

If the show is revived without Barr, there will be discussions on if it is right to bring back the show without her. And of course this discussion will only become more public as President Trump throws in his opinions. America has been more divided than ever as of late, so the fact the Roseanne’s show catered to conservative views to some extent is what brings up the discussion over whether the cancellation was merited. The statement she made in her tweet about Valerie Jarrett can’t be debated, it was terrible. But in the wake of other intriguing social media scandals, there is a general feeling that Twitter specifically, may have some interesting legality/confidentiality issues coming to the surface. I for one, do think it is tough to punish all of the people who worked on the show for Barr’s statements, especially considering how many of her cast mates condemned her.

So what do you think? Should “Roseanne” be given anther revival, minus Roseanne Barr? Or should networks and streaming services avoid trying to reboot the show again, even without the controversial star. Let us know in the comment section.

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