In the midst of the Roseanne Barr tweet controversy yesterday, ABC executives called former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett about canceling Roseanne before the news actually broke.
Jarrett boasted to a panel on the “Everyday Racism in America” town hall on MSNBC that the C.E.O of Disney, Bob Iger, gave her a personal heads up about Roseanne’s ousting before the announcement was made public by ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey in a statement. An apologetic Iger made the gesture to Jarrett to assure her he would be doling out consequences for the comedian’s joke.
“He wanted me to know before he made it public that he was canceling the show,” Entertainment Weekly reported Jarrett said.
Early yesterday, Barr joked about Jarrett’s appearance, using the former advisor’s initials, posting “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby.” To many Americans’ surprise, Jarrett is apparently part black and social media users launched into a feeding frenzy against Barr and her network.
Barr apologized saying, “I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks. I should have known better. Forgive me-my joke was in bad taste,” but the mob had spoken. ABC canceled the hit sitcom within hours.
On Tuesday evening Barr continued issuing multiple apologies on Twitter. By that time Viacom pulled all re-runs of the old Roseanne show from its networks, including CMT (the network formerly known as Country Music Television) and TV Land. Hulu also removed the show from its streaming service.
Jarrett assured the MSNBC town hall audience she was “fine” after hearing about the comments. However, she is losing sleep over how racism will impact people who “don’t have a circle of friends and followers coming to their defense. The person who’s walking down the street minding their own business and they see somebody cling to their purse, or want to cross the street, or every black parent I know who has a boy who has to sit down and have a conversation, ‘the talk’ as we call it, and as you say, those ordinary examples of racism that happen every single day. I think that’s why I’m so glad to be here this evening talking with all of you.”
“I think we have to turn it into a teaching moment,” Jarrett said. “Tone does start at the top, and we like to look up to our President and feel as though he reflects the values of our country. But I also think that every individual citizen has a responsibility too, and it’s up to all of us to push back. Our government is only going to be as good as we make it be. And as Reverend always taught me, you have to be– people on the inside have to push hard and people on the outside have to listen.”
Bob Iger aggressively supported Hillary Clinton’s doomed presidential run, even hosting a fundraiser for her. Before ending Roseanne’s reign as the only mainstream Trump supporter on network television Iger publicly had sour grapes about Trump’s decision on the Paris agreement and there has been a rumor he has his eye on a Presidential run of his own in 2020.