Nolte: ABC’s Firing of Roseanne Barr Over Racist ‘Ape’ Comment is Justified


Comparing a black person to an ape, as sitcom superstar Roseanne Barr did to former Obama White House adviser Valerie Jarrett on Tuesday, is a blatantly racist act and one that justified ABC’s decision to fire her and cancel her hit TV show Tuesday afternoon.

This is not one of those situations, as we have seen so often with the likes of a Rush Limbaugh, where the outrage is manufactured by the left into a witch hunt that allows people to pretend to be injured as a means to ruin or de-platform a political opponent.

Comparing a black person to an ape (and contrary to the rumors on Twitter, Jarrett is black), is a bona fide act of racism. Barr was not being crude or anti-PC or edgy. Barr wasn’t poking the “snowflakes” or pushing the boundaries of free speech. She publicly attacked a black woman with a racist slur.

Therefore, the rage and hurt over this is not manufactured because what Barr did was both outrageous and hurtful; which means that what ABC was dealing with after the tweet was a whole new world, a world that had changed entirely after millions of ABC’s customers discovered Roseanne Barr — someone they might have looked up to since childhood, someone whose work they enjoyed, someone who they recognized as a cultural leader — was capable of saying such a terrible thing.

Just like the NFL’s perfectly justifiable decision to ban behavior that hurts the bottom line and the institution’s reputation, ABC Television is a business, and if their biggest star has just dropped a game-changer that forever alters the way the customers look at their biggest star, and by extension, the business of ABC itself, what choice did ABC have?

And let’s give ABC some credit. Until Barr crossed the line, the network stood by her. Her Trump support, some of the controversial things she has tweeted in the past, ABC did stand up for her right to hold and share  opinions, no matter how controversial to the establishment, when she was outside the workplace.

Barr’s racist “ape” comment is not a free speech issue. Outside of costing the network customers, imagine the disruption internally at ABC. If the network kept Roseanne on the air, kept Barr as a star, what effect would that have had on the network’s black employees — both talent and crew? What does it say to them if such a thing is tolerated?

What Roseanne wrote about Jarrett is indefensible, is racist, and is legitimately hurtful to millions of decent people. I am glad Barr apologized, and, like every one of us, after some time has passed, she deserves a second chance.

Moreover, I certainly understand the frustration of knowing that homophobes like Joy Reid and Alec Baldwin still have a job at NBC, that an anti-Christian bigot like Joy Behar is still working at ABC…

Yes, the hypocrisy and bigotry on the left are very real and very galling — no question. Yes, there is a double standard. Yes, there is a caste system enforced by the establishment media. Yes, yes, yes.

But that does not change the fact that what Roseanne Barr did cannot be defended.

And let me add this closing thought.

I am furious at Roseanne Barr, seething mad… Not only for what she tweeted, but over the fact that we finally got one over on Hollywood’s blacklist against conservatives and conservative ideas, we finally had a top-rated TV show that took our ideas seriously, a monster hit, a cultural game changer…

And in just a few months Roseanne Barr fucked it all up, lost it all.

Shame on her.

What she said was racist and indefensible. This is ALL on her, not ABC.


Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.


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