Staggering cost of Roseanne axing
IF YOU trawl the internet reading responses to the cancellation of the hit show Roseanne after its co-creator, Roseanne Barr, tweeted a reprehensible racist tweet overnight, one sentiment stands out.
It's not the wounded shrieks about 'free speech!' from conservative pundits - those are entirely predictable. Nor is it the fevered hissing from the crazed conspiracy theorists who think the network's decision is part of an evil plot led by the Deep State. No, the sentiment that stands out most is a sort of weary, helpless relief.
Finally. Finally a big fish, a megastar, someone who is still making serious coin with a popular show is being held to account for dangerous and repugnant racism.
Finally a corporation is willing to lose money and viewers to defend what's right. The Roseanne reboot was the ABC network's top-rating prime-time entertainment show and had brought in over $US22.8 million in ad revenue after just nine episodes, according to Reuters.
The second season had already been pitched to advertisers and was expected to put $US60 million into the network's coffers, according to estimates from research firm Kantar Media.
Finally, in a world where the sitting United States President can call Mexicans rapists and talk about "sh*thole" African countries with impunity, and African American football players can have their careers destroyed if they refuse to stand for the national anthem, someone is paying a price.
Finally, all of us are saying 'enough'.
In case you missed it, Roseanne tweeted this overnight: "Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby = vj."
"VJ" is Valerie Jarrett, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama. The 'Muslim brotherhood' dig is a reference to the fact that Jarrett was born in Iran and the ape insult is a racist gibe at Jarrett's African American heritage. The whole thing is ugly, senseless and typical of the sort of unhinged, rudderless trolling that characterises the far right in the US.
But what's different this time is that finally someone is taking action. Just hours after Roseanne sent the tweet, ABC network head Channing Dungey said in a statement that it was "abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values," and added very firmly that the network had decided to cancel her show.
It's a huge call. The ABC stands to lose a lot from axing their cash cow - not just in revenue from the current series but in syndication fees as networks around the world rush to pull lucrative re-runs of the 1980s/1990s Roseanne series from their schedules.
It's a stunning sign of the times that the axe has finally fallen. After all, it's not the first time Roseanne has shared her offensive views, many which have swerved wildly all over the political spectrum, but always with the express aim of causing maximum damage to groups and individuals.
In the past she's tweeted about "Islamic pedo culture". She called Israel a "Nazi state" but then dressed up as Hitler for a magazine spread and defended a musician who identified as a holocaust denier. She called Hillary Clinton's former aide Huma Abedin a "filthy Nazi whore" and tweeted that Obama's national security adviser Susan Rice - an African American woman - was a "man with big swinging ape balls".
It's difficult to keep a handle on exactly what her views are - the only thing that ties them together is hatred.
And the rest of us, it would seem, have finally had enough of hatred.
With luck, Roseanne's demise will set a precedent for future entertainers and other prominent figures who may feel the urge to spew bile into the world.
For anyone who feels empowered by the racism that has trickled down from the top of the White House since Trump's election, as well as the rise of xenophobic, racist governments around the world and the ramblings of angry lunatics like Infowar's Alex Jones and Breitbart's Steve Bannon, this incident should tell you that your time is drawing to a close.
You've stayed your hour. Neither your money nor your fame will protect you any more.
Exercise your right to free speech by all means, but don't be surprised when that speech outs you as a racist moron and the pay cheques start to dry up.
Actress Debra Messing, star of the hit show Will and Grace, went out of her way to thank her industry for finally putting people before profits in a tweet of her own:
"I just heard Roseanne is cancelled. My reaction - tears," she wrote. "I'm just so relieved and grateful. The hate that has been spewing from those in Trump's orbit has really taken a toll on all our souls and psyches. I didn't believe it would happen. I had lost faith. Thank you ABC."