This is the tale of two comedians.
First we have Roseanne Barr, an iconic comedian turned television personality from the late 80’s to the late 90’s. She was heralded by critics as a representative of the everyday working class American. After her show ended, she became a different beast altogether, transforming herself from a public figure the masses could identify with into a hate spewing, alt-right politician- she ran for president in 2012 staging a national campaign- criticizing then-President Barack Obama, jumping on the birther bandwagon, standing outside the White House with a megaphone spouting conspiracy theories that would make Alex Jones look like a level headed philosopher.
Although she barely made a dent in the competitive political field, she wasn’t about to let her world views go unheard. In the following years on twitter, she routinely made casual, disgraceful- even false remarks attacking everyone from Hillary Clinton to Transgender Americans, Muslims and Jewish folks. She would go on racist tangents, appealing to the same base that eventually elected Trump.
Nevermind she dressed up as Hitler, complete with a mustache and Swastika armband while pretending to bake, what she called, “Jew cookies” in a gas over. This is what Roseanne had become. This was the real Roseanne.
It was a little shocking when Sara Gilbert, who had played Roseanne’s daughter, Darlene, in the original series and was now co-host of The Talk, decided it was time for a revival. I guess it seemed the thing to do. Full House did it. Gilmore Girls did it. Why not the beloved hit sitcom “Roseanne,” too. Except this wasn’t the same Roseanne. This was a right wing Trump supporter with terrifying- and aggressive- world views.
Sara Gilbert, an out lesbian married to 4 Non Blondes singer Linda Perry, might have just demonstrated poor judgement. Maybe she really needed another job. Maybe she thought Barr could separate herself from her hate parade long enough to return to the glory days of her titular show that defended the underdog, stood up for the underprivileged and held up a mirror in which most struggling Americans saw their own reflection.
She was too far gone. Although the Roseanne revival premiered to record ratings for ABC in a triumphant return, leveraging a token gender fluid child and an interracial marriage to feign a progressive direction. Donald Trump himself called Barr to congratulate her on her high ratings. Yet, it wasn’t even a month before Barr took to her twitter once again, this time to compare former Clinton Aide, Valerie Jarrett, a respected black woman, to an ape.
Internet justice was swift as outrage permeated the conscience of the greater collective, and ABC, whose president is a black woman herself, unceremoniously canceled her show, despite renewing Roseanne for a second season after the debut of just the first episode.
It was the right thing to do. Especially in this era where racism is so unapologetically expressed, much in part thanks to the perceived approval of Donald Trump. Bigots have climbed out of their crevices, suddenly emboldened to brandish torches, display symbols of White Power and parade down main streets of middle America in White Pride marches feeling untouchable.
Barr demonstrated a mere symptom of a disease that is plaguing America. Where once we thought racism had ebbed into the shadows of an archaic minded minority, it has returned with a vengeance- and those who had previously kept their hatred discreet had come out screaming. There is no question it was in retaliation for the nation having just celebrated its first black President… of course, the goal since Trump took office was to immediately erase his legacy as though it were a blemish on white history.
Enter, now, comedian Samantha Bee. We have a lot of Samantha Bee’s if I’m to be honest. There is John Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Johnathan Pie, all who offer scathing commentary on the chaos and division that is, unquestionably, the state of American Politics.
However, Samantha Bee, in response to Trump’s extremely controversial anti-immigration policies that have seen children separated from their families, locked up in concentration camp-like shelters and routinely abused by Border Agents, took Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, to task… on the same week that the tone deaf Ivanka shared an instagram photo with her own child, demonstrating the privilege she has, that those suffering immigrants who have lost their children do not. Bee said;
“Ivanka Trump chose to post the second-most oblivious tweet we’ve seen this week. You know, Ivanka, that’s a beautiful photo of you and your child but let me just say, one mother to another: Do something about your dad’s immigration practices, you feckless c*nt! He listens to you!” — Samantha Bee
Suddenly, conservatives were up in arms, demanding Bee experience the same fate as Roseanne and be fired from her network. Except there is one glaring difference in the remarks made by these two comedians.
Roseanne has attacked people based on their gender, sexuality and race.
Bee has never insulted anyone based on any of these factors, and instead was chiding Ivanka for her inaction- albeit rather tactlessly. It wasn’t, however, a hate fueled missile fired at an entire segment of society… and Bee isn’t the only party involved in this story to use that specific word to verbally assault another woman:
That’s the difference. A false equivalency. But Republicans aren’t concerned much with facts, as usual, and instead of considering the context, simply want an eye for an eye. That’s right, they’re more invested in retaliation; In keeping score- even if it means supporting bigotry, rather than losing one of their own.
This isn’t altogether unlike the plight of Kathy Griffin, the comedian who took a photograph holding a mock severed head of Donald Trump. Despite her apology, she endured Donald Trump’s form of justice. A three month FBI Investigation, placed on Interpol list, all of her tours canceled by promoters as the entire Trump family leveraged their fan base to attacked her- even sending her gruesome death threats.
Roseanne, however, has been given Trump’s stamp of approval. That’s right. While he has vigorously condemned Bee for insulting his daughter, he has continued to champion Roseanne Barr.
This blatant hypocrisy is something that we’re seeing more frequently than ever before as Republicans selectively choose to publicly castrate their critics and destroy their careers, all while advocating the rampant racism and bigotry from those in their camp who plant their targets firmly- and consistently- on the back of minorities.