How many times do I have to say it! Freedom of speech, in no way, means freedom from the consequences of that speech.
Is anyone really surprised that Rosanne Barr managed to cut her comeback shorter than a tertiary Trump cabinet member’s tenure? It’s not as if she hasn’t been Tweeting that kind of bizarre racist and anti-Muslim BS for years. Did ABC and Disney really think they could keep that genie in the bottle for very long?
For those of you who’ve been taking too much Ambien, in the culmination of a bizarre series of tweets, Barr referred to former Obama adviser, Valerie Jarrett, as a cross between the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes. Of course, Jarrett, who was born to American parents in Iran, is black.
Barr deleted the tweet and quickly attempted to apologize, but as most rational people already realize, nothing on the Internet ever goes away. Both ABC and Disney swiftly reacted by cancelling the ‘Roseanne’ reboot which had been a huge ratings bonanza.
But what’s been fascinating for me is having friends on both sides of the political spectrum come at me with all kinds of questions. And the first one was, “Why now? Hasn’t Barr always been kinda nutty?”
Yes, she has!
But this time, she had something to lose. And if you have something to lose, you can’t compare black folks to apes and come out unscathed. Only the N-word will get you in more trouble.
Here’s a perfect example that occured long before taking offense because our national pastime.
While calling a September 5, 1983 Monday Night Football game, the legendary Howard Cosell said of Washington Redskin’s black wide receiver Alvin Garrett, “That little monkey gets loose, doesn’t he?”
Never mind that Cosell didn’t have a bigoted bone in his body. Never mind that he’d used that term in reference to white players like Mike Adamle. Never mind that Cosell conspired with Mohammed Ali to significantly boost both of their careers.
The excrement hit the air propelling device, and, despite his stellar racial track record, Cosell retired from MNF after that season.
So, why didn’t Ms. Barr suffer when she compared Condoleezza Rice to an ape back in 2013? Because she didn’t have a hit show then. It’s as simple as that.
Some of my more conservative friends also complained that, if Roseanne got the boot, how come Keith Olbermann and ‘The View’ are still on the air. First, MSNBC did fire Olbermann and now he toils for ESPN which is hardly a political proposition. Meanwhile, Sean Hannity and Alex Jones, both of whom make Joy Behar look like Mrs. Rogers, still blather away on their respective outlets.
That’s why I don’t watch talk shows.
Whether you like it or not, talk show hosts are held to an entirely different standard than sitcom stars. Being controversial works for the talking heads, but controversial stars don’t help sitcoms ratings. Considering her regular anti-Muslim declarations, I wouldn’t even glance at the ‘Roseanne’ reboot.
But what really frosts my flakes is, the conservatives who would deny black NFL players the right to a peaceful protest are exactly the ones shrieking “freedom of speech” in regard to Barr’s firing.
Um… I hate to tell the Tea Baggers, but Ms. Barr didn’t get arrested, murdered, tortured, imprisoned, or subjected to rendition for speaking her mind. As far as I can tell, her First Amendment rights are quite intact. It’s the consequences that my conservative friends don’t like.
All Wanda Sykes did was exercise her right to work elsewhere. Co-stars Sarah Gilbert and Michael Fishman exercised their freedom of speech when they condemned Barr’s Tweets. And ABC and Disney applied their rights by denouncing Barr’s racism and choosing not to continue her employment.
Why, it would appear this was an outright rights celebration!
As is par for the course, the now-fired Barr blamed the insomnia drug, Ambien, for her Twitter tirade. But as that pharmaceutical company pointed out in a countertweet, Ambien may have side-effects, but racism isn’t one of them.
No, it isn’t! Freedom of Speech is alive and well, my friends, but it certainly won’t protect you from the consequences of that speech.