Was ABC’s Decision to Cancel Roseanne the Right One?

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ABCBy now I’m sure you’ve seen the news that ABC cancelled the popular reboot of Roseanne this week, referencing a tweet the actress sent out that was “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values,” according to a statement from ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey.

Roseanne, of course, has apologized and claiming she was under the influence of a prescription sleeping pill at the time.

Just remember, don’t tweet under the influence.

She is definitely not the first to use Twitter to express personal views that has been taken to task and I’m guessing she won’t be the last.  But I’m wondering if ABC’s quick and decisive action is the right one in this case.

Roseanne has a long history of making unpopular statements.  She just has social media now to share those statements where, in the earlier days of her show, her comments were typically part of her comedy act or caught on tape during media interviews.  ABC knew what they were getting into when they brought the show back.

Should the entire cast and crew lose their jobs because of it?

No, I don’t think so.  There are likely some creative solutions that the network could have considered before putting people out of work.  If you’ve been watching the show, you know one of the storylines is her addiction to pain pills – couldn’t she have had an extended stay at a rehab facility?  Her character is an Uber driver, perhaps she could be on a long road trip with one of her passengers?

TV shows write storylines all the time to accommodate the personal lives of their actors (think pregnancies, hairstyle changes, illness); I’m sure they could have come up with something.

Is an apology enough?

She did go on Twitter and apologized specifically to "the hundreds of people, and wonderful writers (all liberal) and talented actors who lost their jobs on my show due to my stupid tweet." But not before urging her fans not to "feel sorry for me."

An apology goes a long way toward gaining forgiveness.  But actions need to back up the words.

Abbie S. Fink
Abbie S. Fink
Vice President/General Manager Abbie has been doing public relations her whole life…from organizing a picket line in 6th grade to organizing client communications today. She’s passionate about a lot of things, you’ll see. Check out Abbie's full bio

2 Comments

  1. Scott Hanson says:

    Sanofi, the maker of Ambien, responded with this Tweet:”While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.” That is nailing the space with a powerful few words.

  2. David Landis says:

    Loved Sanofi’s response. By the way, Sean Dowdall on our team has a great idea: ABC should produce a spinoff called “Dan and Daniels,” where Dan divorces Roseanne and marries Stormy Daniels. Then the whole cast and crew can keep their jobs!

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