Disney/ABC Television Group President Ben Sherwood sent a memo to staff today, telling them the cancellation of the Roseanne revival “came down to doing what’s right and upholding our values of inclusion, tolerance and civility.”
ABC announced one day earlier it was cancelling its hit comedy series after star Roseanne Barr issued another tweet describing another female black member of the Obama administration as an “ape.” This time Barr dusted off that “bad joke” to use on Valerie Jarrett.
But, in 2013, Barr used it to describe Susan Rice. Which was not a secret to ABC, when it ordered the Roseanne revival. Ditto the right-wing conspiracy theories for which Roseanne is known.
When Sherman had appeared on stage in front of a packed David Geffen Hall, he gave Roseanne a big hug, and told about 2,700 media buyers and station execs to give a big round of applause to “a woman who has always done it her way” after giving her a big hug.
Two weeks later, in his internal memo to staff titled “Our Values”, Sherwood was apologizing to “the many men and women who poured their hearts and lives into the show and were just getting started on next season.”
You can read Sherwood’s memo in full below.
Much has been said and written about yesterday’s decision to cancel the Roseanne show. In the end, it came down to doing what’s right and upholding our values of inclusion, tolerance, and civility.
Not enough, however, has been said about the many men and women who poured their hearts and lives into the show and were just getting started on next season. We’re so sorry they were swept up in all of this and we give thanks for their remarkable talents, wish them well, and hope to find another way to work together down the road.
The last 24 hours have also been a powerful reminder of the importance of words in everything we do – online and on the air. And the responsibility of using social media – and all of our programs and platforms – with careful thought, decency and consideration.
Today we move forward, together, full speed.