Dictionary.com Responded To Roseanne Barr's Racist Valerie Jarrett Tweet & It Pulled No Punches
On Tuesday, the actress and producer best known for her work on the television show Roseanne, lost her namesake television show and was dropped by her talent agency. The upset was the result of racist statements she made on Twitter, regarding Valerie Jarett, a former adviser to President Obama. After the drama played out, even Dictionary.com had something to say about Roseanne Barr's tweets.
Quoting-tweeting a post from CNN, the Twitter account with occasionally cutting commentary instructed journalists that the word "racist" was an entirely appropriate descriptor for Barr's words.
"Bizarre is one word to describe Roseanne's comments about Valerie Jarrett, or you could just use this one," the account wrote, linking to the website;s definition of the word "racist." The article in question does now include the word "racist," though it's unclear whether the descriptor was added to CNN's piece before or after they were called out by Dictionary.com.
As for the tweet that ignited Tuesday's outrage, Barr's comments were pretty straightforward. "Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj," Barr wrote in a now-deleted tweet, referencing Jarett. Barr soon apologized and announced that she was leaving Twitter.
Shortly thereafter, ABC announced that it was canceling her show.
"Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show," said ABC Entertainment's president, Channing Dungey.
Shortly thereafter, the talent agency ICM Partners announced that it was dropping Barr as a client. "We are all greatly distressed by the disgraceful and unacceptable tweet from Roseanne Barr this morning," the agency reportedly wrote in an internal memo, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "What she wrote is antithetical to our core values, both as individuals and as an agency. Consequently, we have notified her that we will not represent her. Effective immediately, Roseanne Barr is no longer a client.”
Dictionary.com wasn't the only online dictionary to respond to the Barr news. Merriam-Webster also appeared to chime in. After ABC announced it was ending Roseanne, the dictionary offered some related spelling tips for those who were interested. "'Canceled' and 'cancelled' are both standard variants," the folks behind Merriam-Webster tweeted, referring to a common spelling conundrum wherein a word can be spelled properly in two different ways.
Both dictionaries received praise for their posts. "Who says you can't be a no holds barred savage AND be educational?" one user wrote in response to Merriam-Webster.
"The dictionary shade has been my favorite part of the alternate timeline we've ended up in," wrote another user, this time responding to Dictionary.com.
As for Barr's future, that much is unclear. Tuesday's events unfolded with a shocking rapidity. Before the decision to cancel her show was made public, Barr apologized, writing, "I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans. I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks. I should have known better. Forgive me — my joke was in bad taste."
Leadership from Walt Disney Company, ABC's parent company, also appeared to back ABC's decision.Chief executive Robert A. Iger shared Dungey’s statement and said, "There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing."
According to The New York Times, ABC had only just recently used Roseanne as a major selling point to potential advertisers for the upcoming fall television season. Where the company will turn next is not yet clear.
The Roseanne reboot that aired this year received some criticism for casting its protagonist, played by Barr, as a Donald Trump supporter. However, the reboot also received a massive amount of press and reportedly faired extremely well insofar as ratings were concerned. What, if anything, will take the show's place is currently unknown.