Several business leaders in the media sector praised Disney-owned ABC’s decision to cancel its top-rated sitcom “Roseanne” this week after series star Roseanne Barr made a racist remark about former White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.
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HBO Chairman and CEO Richard Plepler said ABC “did absolutely the right thing in canceling the show,” which had drawn more than 10 million viewers for each of its nine episodes during a controversial revival season. Barr’s remark on Twitter scuttled the network’s plans for a second season of the reboot.
“There’s absolutely no room in our culture for that kind of bigotry,” Plepler told Variety at Lincoln Center’s American Songbook Gala in New York. “It’s unacceptable, and I applaud the alacrity in which they did it.”
Barr was defensive of the racially charged remark, which she referred to as a “joke,” but later apologized. The actress followed up on Thursday by saying her remark was a result of “Ambien tweeting,” triggering a rebuke from Sanofi, the pharmaceutical company that manufacturers the drug.
Disney CEO Bob Iger said the decision to cancel “Roseanne,” which had earned an estimated $39.6 million in national advertising revenue since its March 27 debut, was “the right thing” to do.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson commended Iger’s decision, which came within hours of Barr’s tweet.
“You have to admire how he did that,” Stephenson said at Recode’s Code Conference in California, according to Variety. “I can’t imagine how you would not.”
21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch said the decision was in the best interests of the Disney brand.
“It’s about doing the right thing,” Murdoch said, according to The Wrap. “The right thing for your brand, for your company. For the people down the hall.”
21st Century Fox is the parent company of Fox News and FOX Business.