With Kenya Barris now out at ABC and headed for Netflix, in a reported $100 million deal, the Black-ish sitcom creator is now saying that a virulently anti-President Donald Trump episode shelved by the network was the “last straw.”
In a lengthy interview with the Hollywood Reporter, the highly politically-minded writer and producer noted that he just did not see any way to continue his relationship with Disney-owned ABC after the politically-charged episode was permanently shelved by network executives.
Barris told THR that he was floored when ABC finally shelved the episode entitled, “Please Baby Please,” especially since network bosses were involved and informed about the episode at every step of its creation. ABC executives were involved from concept, to writing, to filming, even to chipping in the much higher production costs of the episode, Barris said. So, when executives found the final product to be aggressively anti-Trump and offensive to anyone who isn’t a far left, race-obsessed, liberal that they couldn’t air it, Barris was stumped.
Barris told THR that the idea for the episode came to him when he heard a news story that claimed that Americans have not been this anxious since the Vietnam War. He felt that he needed to write an episode speaking to the fears he thinks that blacks face in America today.
But it’s political correctness that is a stumbling block to public discourse, Barris said.
“There’s this P.C. culture that’s been created where people feel like not talking about things makes it better,” he said, “but I think it makes it worse and that’s why I wanted to talk about the last year.”
Ultimately, it was all just too much for ABC. According to the Reporter, Barris screened a few cuts for his network bosses, but they wanted a lot of edits. Barris told them, “it wasn’t as easy as a nip here or a tuck there, and the sheer tonnage of anti-Trump material rippling through the episode ultimately made the exercise futile,” the Reporter wrote.
The requests for cuts were so extensive, Barris said, “What it ended up being, and I think the network would agree, was not a true representation of what we intended to do.”
So, the episode was dumped and may never see the light of day. In fact, Barris hopes it is never shown for fear that he’ll be blamed for it leaking. “I hope it doesn’t because I’ll be looked at as the blame for it and I’ll fucking get sued,” he said.
Barris said that the episode, “Please, Baby, Please,” was his breaking point. But he also admitted that he was on the verge of exploding over the network’s top sitcom hit, Roseanne. Barris was preparing to speak out against the sitcom, but Barr’s firing quelled his ardor.
When Barris’ show, Black-ish was scheduled to air after the hit Roseanne, he was not happy despite the fact that with Roseanne as a lead in, his show’s ratings went up.
The producer was ready to slam the rival show, “Because fuck Roseanne,” he told the Reporter. “She’s a fuckin’ monster. And they were like, ‘Why is this monster killing villagers?’ And I was like, ‘Because that’s what a monster does.'”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.