Despite the revival of Roseanne posting up pleasing numbers for ABC, a racist “joke” tweeted out about Valerie Jarrett, a presidential advisor under Barack Obama, has prompted ABC to cancel their promising reboot of the series.
The incendiary, grotesque tweet, now deleted, reads as follows, “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj” (vj being the initials of Valerie Jarett). Barr quickly apologized for the tweet after all hell broke loose on the Internet and announced she was leaving Twitter, but that wasn’t enough mea culpa for ABC’s taste.
This has to be the swiftest cancellation of a series (this all happened today) in recent memory, especially one that comes from the fallout of one tweet. Such action might just set a new standard and precedent that networks and studios might follow going forward regarding the behavior of their talent, no matter how big or successful.
Free speech, especially as used by comedians on social media, will be a curious case in the immediate future.
Defamation, which there might be an argument for here, is indeed not protected by the First Amendment, but you might want to read up on the legal definition of defamation before you form your opinion on the situation.