Roseanne Barr Tweets Gross Bill Cosby Joke That Adds Nothing to the Conversation
You're going to need a trigger warning for the rest of this article or if you were planning to head to Roseanne Barr's Twitter on Wednesday. The actress and comedian famous for her stint on the eponymous show Roseanne has taken an...interesting stance on the rash of sexual abuse allegations against Bill Cosby. And by "taken a stance," I mean she did something wildly offensive. Early Wednesday morning, Barr made a joke about Cosby beating her with a corresponding picture of her face post-chemical peel and I really, really hope I don't need to explain to anyone else how inappropriate and unnecessary that was. Especially since, according to People, her original tweet didn't mention the chemical peel or that she was joking at all.
People reports that Barr initially posted the photo with the simple caption "tussle w Bill Cosby" and a follow-up tweet reading "u should see that mfer." After what I imagine was considerable backlash, Barr allegedly deleted the tweets to replace them with the ones that can currently still be found on her account. The new caption to the photo read, "Got a chemical peel to look more sexier. Joked about tussling cosby." Really, it's not so much the chemical peel that I find so horrifying. The photo of Barr is gruesome, as her face is bruised and swollen from the peel, but I believe in a woman's choice to do as she wishes to feel sexier. It's the fact that she brought Cosby into this that horrifies me.
The claims that are being brought against Cosby, and his equally staunch insistence that he is innocent of these decades-old allegations, are controversial enough. Even the original joke that sparked the fire of public outcry against the comedian wasn’t so much a joke as it was a statement of fact. Hannibal Buress simply stated during his set that he didn’t have to listen to what Cosby said because Cosby was a rapist and that made his opinion on any other matter invalid. That’s a good way to joke about this situation. When Cosby’s camp had a meme-generating contest and trolls used the opportunity to create a thousand and one memes about Cosby allegedly getting away with sexual abuse for years, that's a good way to joke about this situation.
Posting a picture of your bruised and swollen face and "joking" that Cosby beat you is not a way to joke about this situation. That's not a joke. That's absolutely horrifying and does nothing to help either Cosby or his alleged victims. From this, I can at least gather that Barr believes the claims against Cosby, or at the very least doesn't hold the same respect for him as she did before, but of all the ways to show sympathy or solidarity with the victims, did she have to choose the one that could have triggered a wealth of domestic violence survivors who are following her? Is it not enough that Cosby is rumored to be a serial rapist, that we need to pile assault charges on top of that? In the time between her initial tweet and her tweet clarifying that this was a joke, how many people did she terrify or fool?
These are the kinds of consequences that I don't think that Barr considered before she decided to climb on Twitter Wednesday morning. And since the photo and tweet still have not been taken down, I don't think she's thought about them yet at all. The victims who are finding the courage to come forward and tell their stories are having a hard enough time getting legitimized — and who even knows how long it will be before the public's attention inevitably falls to something else and their case gets ignored again as it did in 2004 — without having more ludicrous stories come out about Cosby. These kinds of damaging, clearly false stories only serve to confuse people. The worst thing that could happen from this is for someone to find out that Cosby didn't really assault Barr physically and subsequently take that to mean that Cosby also couldn't have assaulted any of these women sexually.
Of course, we still don't know whether or not Cosby really did assault anyone — not from the comedian's mouth. His lawyer has made it clear that Cosby has only one stance on all of these accusations: "This is utter nonsense. People coming out of nowhere with this sort of inane yarn is what happens in a media-driven feeding frenzy. We’ve reached the point of absurdity. The stories are getting more ridiculous. I think people are trying to come up with these wild stories in order to justify why they have waited 40 to 50 years to disclose these ridiculous accusations." Sadly, Barr's tweets fall under the heading of the kind of "ridiculous" and "wild" stories that Cosby's lawyer was denouncing. It would be highly detrimental and damaging if the tales of the alleged victims get lumped in with her "joke."
We have reached out to Barr for comment, but have yet to hear back.
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