Roseanne Gets Rose-Canned: The Gender Gap in Accountability

By  | 

Sitcom star Roseanne Barr burned many bridges this morning after unleashing a string of racist tweets. She managed to berate the Jewish, Muslim, and African-American communities within a few hours- referring to Valerie Jarrett as ‘the Muslim Brotherhood & Planet of the Apes having a baby,’ George Soros as a “racist” and “nazi” and Chelsea Clinton as a supporter of these ideals by being allegedly married to one of his nephews. Since her twitter-storm this morning, she has issued an apology and left the social media platform indefinitely.

ABC was momentarily silent about the issue but has since released a statement saying that, “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.” This was released by their entertainment president, Channing Dungey, which received verbal support from Robert Iger, the CEO and chairman of the Walt Disney Company.

As women, we must often fight harder than men in order to achieve the same influence in our various professional fields, many of which are still dominated by men. Once women achieve a certain level of success and admiration, we must then approach our words with intense caution just as we approached our careers with intense tenacity.

While racial and/or religious slander should not be tolerated no matter one’s sex, it’s difficult to ignore the fact that there are drastically different ramifications based on the gender of the person making said offensive comments. For instance,  Mel Gibson made racist comments about the Jewish community when he was arrested in 2006 for driving under the influence. He was also caught telling his ex-wife that he wished that she had been raped. However, he is still very actively involved instead of being blacklisted for his statements.

Another example of this gender bias is the story of Donald Sterling, former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. Upon being exposed as a “blatant racist,” Sterling was forced to sell the team. Meanwhile, upon revealing Paula Dean’s potentially racist views, she had her entire empire stripped from her. Both parties exhibited equally horrific behavior, but Sterling was still able to make millions of dollars following his scandal. It’s not that women should have a lesser punishment for portraying such views, however, in order to create a nation that values and respects diversity and equality, it’s imperative that  men and women share equal consequences for their actions.

Several celebrities and Twitter users have commended ABC’s decision to cancel Roseanne, and some, like Morgan Freeman, believe that we need to maintain this level of accountability with everybody we hold in the limelight.

ABC sent a powerful and positive message today which was the importance of holding people, even celebrities, accountable for their words and actions. The network showed that that viewers should not reward people, like Barr, with continued attention, money, fame, etc. ABC handled Barr’s behavior very well, and hopefully actions like this will inspire others to hold men and women alike to this same standard.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *