The instant cancellation of ABC’s “Roseanne” following Roseanne Barr’s unfortunate tweet on Tuesday carries with it a hefty lesson for celebrities, comedians, politicians, actors, journalists and others whose professional work environment includes a social media presence. It can be fraught with peril at times.
“If you’re going to do something stupid on Twitter, just put your phone down and walk away. That’s my advice,” said Fox News anchor Dana Perino in the immediate aftermath of ABC’s swift decision to cancel the newly rebooted series, which had been a prime time ratings bonanza for the network.
Miss Barr has indeed walked away. After apologizing for the offending tweet, she announced she would be leaving Twitter, where she had 688,000 followers.
“You can destroy your own career,” Fox News host Greg Gutfeld told Ms. Perino when the pair discussed the situation — which topped the national popularity trend on Twitter itself for many hours.
Mr. Gutfeld suggested that those who perceive social media sites as totally freewheeling environments could adopt a certain recklessness and express themselves with, uh, abandon.
“Comedians when they talk, it’s like they’re jumping off a cliff,” he said. “Comedians have this thing. They see a cliff, and they jump off it. In the old days you could get away with it, but no more. Everything is permanent. Twitter is the bathroom wall for Planet Earth and you can’t unscrub it.”
Social media, while presenting the possibility of vast audiences and infinite outreach, still has practical parameters.
“Free expression is a human right. Everyone has a voice and the right to use it. On Twitter, you should feel safe expressing your unique point of view with every tweet — and it’s our job to make that happen,” Twitter says in an official statement that spells out “hateful conduct” policy and other guidelines.
Reality also has entered the fray....“Will doing the right thing hurt? That’s what the entire TV industry will want to see after ABC canceled its biggest hit, its revival ‘Roseanne,’ over its namesake star’s racist Twitter rant,” writes Ad Age analyst Jeanine Poggi, who predicts the network would be “scrambling” to replace the show and deal with the loss of advertising revenue that is at stake.SOCIAL MEDIA HAZARDS, PT. 2A number of journalists and public figures were upset by a photograph circulated on social media of “caged immigrant children” at a U.S. border facility; those who were offended shared the image on Twitter with their critical commentary. The images, however, were taken at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center on June 18, 2014, — during the Obama, not the Trump, administration.The troubled observers amended their response, including Jake Silverstein, editor-in-chief of The New York Times Magazine.“Correction: this link, which was going around this morning, is from 2014,” tweeted Mr. Silverstein. “Still disturbing, of course, but only indirectly related to current situation. My