Sunday, June 3, 2018

On the far-right, Roseanne's cancellation isn't funny

  Roseanne always tried to walk a comedic edge. But, in a tweet about a former aide to President Barack Obama, that edge cut her.

  Now, the far right and the alt-right are trying to stop the bleeding and defend a racist tweet.

  “Roseanne learned today, like most of us, that Valerie Jarret identifies as black. Surprise!” conspiracy theorist and right-wing commentator Mark Dice tweeted.

  Barr is known to traffic in conspiracy theories, racist tweets and questionable comments online, but the tweet that did her in showed former Obama assistant Valerie Jarrett side by side with an ape.

  In response to a comment in an earlier tweet about Jarrett, Barr said: "Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj."

  Within hours, ABC had canceled the reboot of Barr’s show “Roseanne,” which focused on a Chicago-area family and in which Barr played someone much like herself — an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump.

  (Despite the show’s cancellation, the Twitter account for the program has remained online. The last new tweet on the account was from Sunday night.)

  Many people, including celebrities, politicians, and commentators denounced Barr’s comparison. But among racists, the far right and the alt-right, the comedian, who has apologized, blamed the sleep aid Ambien and continued to retweet racist ideas, became a martyr and Jarrett became a point of mocking.

  The general theme of tweets, pronouncements, and posts on the alt-right social media site Gab were that Roseanne isn’t racist, the comments were accurate and ABC was wrong.

  Many of Roseanne’s backers also denied that comparing Jarrett to a character from “Planet of the Apes” was racist, while overlooking historical comparisons made by white supremacists between black people and primates.

  Pictures of Jarrett and the character from the movie side-by-side were popular memes among the far-right in the wake of the cancellation.

  “Did anyone even bother to look at the character on Planet of the Apes that #Roseanne was referring to? It wasn't a racist comment AT ALL! She actually looks exactly like the character. I looked it up and laughed so hard I almost pissed my pants. It's not racist, it's truth!” tweeted Kelly Ellis (@Kellycal0426), who has tweeted and retweeted far-right ideas.

  Singer Ted Nugent, a vocal Trump supporter and NRA board member, didn’t miss the opportunity to step into the fray.

  “So Roseanne referencing a movie title is racist. Lying dishonest soulless freaks from Planet of the Apes,” Nugent tweeted on Tuesday.

  Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who has peddled some of the same debunked ideas as Barr, also came to her defense. Jones, who has been known to mock the victims of mass shootings, called for the comedian to push back.

  “Hi @therealroseanne, it’s time for you to strike back against these THOUGHT POLICE and really shake them up! You’ve been on the show before and it’s time for you to come back on! #Roseanne,” Jones tweeted Tuesday.

  Paul Joseph Watson, an editor-at-large on Jones’ InfoWars, said there are “totally different rules” for conservatives.

  “Maybe if Roseanne had just lied about what she tweeted, blamed non-existent ‘hackers’ and stuck to what was obviously a bogus excuse for weeks, the media would have immediately forgiven her. Oh I forgot, she's a conservative,” Watson said in a tweet Tuesday night that Roseanne retweeted.

  Daily Stormer editor and blogger Andrew Anglin, who frequently blames Jewish people for issues in the world, attacked Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, which owns ABC. Anglin noted that Iger is Jewish and the head of ABC’s entertainment division, Channing Dungey, is a black woman.

  Even though Barr’s show is gone, her ideas are still floating around out there online. And, some even come from the family of the current occupant of the White House.

  In the hours after the cancelation, Donald Trump, Jr., retweeted a claim by Barr that philanthropist and Democratic donor George Soros aided Nazis in finding Jews during World War II. That didn’t happen, but the lack of facts didn’t stop Barr from tweeting about it, nor stop Trump, Jr., from echoing the conspiracy theory.

  For the alt-right, it’s all in the family.

  This article was published by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

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