Flat White

The double standards of our cultural czars

4 June 2018

1:05 PM

4 June 2018

1:05 PM

If you were still in any doubt as to there being an unwritten double standard currently operating throughout the Western world, then just consider this: Roseanne Barr had her hit TV show cancelled last week due to an early morning racist slur against Valerie Jarrett. Jarrett is an African-American woman who was a senior adviser to Barack Obama. In case you have no idea what I’m referring too, she Tweeted:

The condemnation swift and severe. The Walt Disney Company’s ABC network immediately cancelling her sit-com Roseanne. Network Ten in Australia quickly deleted it from its schedule. Sadly, it meant that all of the other actors, writers and producers of the show were also immediately out of work.

But compare all that to this: Samantha Bee utters the following foul mouth tirade against Ivanka Trump—much of which has been censored by various media outlets—and not only does she still have a job, but many are even defending her. And just to give this some further context, according to The Guardian, Bee began her segment alluding to the incident involving Barr and saying: “We are going to talk about racism: I just popped an Ambien, so buckle up, everyone.”

Here’s a transcript of what she said:

After decades of ignoring the issue, Amercians are finally paying attention. Well, most of us…

Ivanka Trump, who works at the White House, chose to post the second most oblivious tweet this week.

You know Ivanka, that’s a beautiful photo of you and your child, but let me just say one thing, one mother to another: do something about your dad’s immigration practices you feckless c-nt.

He listens to you. Put on something tight and low-cut and tell your father to f*cking stop it. Tell him it was an Obama thing and see how it goes, OK?’

Significantly, Bee had planned exactly what she was going to say. What’s more, it would have been vetted by a number of editors and producers. However, there has been a terrible inconsistency in how critics have responded to Bee compared to the condemnation unleashed on Barr. As the NBC’s Megyn Kelly tweeted:

It seems that an indefensible joke involving racism is now viewed as being a greater social evil than insult laced with the vilest and most vulgar language—as well as incestuous sexual innuendo—against another woman currently serving in government. Well, only if the person you’re offending is a political conservative that is! As Ari Fleischer, the former White House Press Secretary under George W. Bush, summed up the issue perfectly when he tweeted:

However, incredibly, many from the left have actually come out in defence of Barr’s statement. In fact, actress Sally Field double-downed on the whole sordid affair by tweeting:

Cue the to be expected universal social and mainstream media outrage…not. In fact, if you were anticipating me to provide you with evidence of backlash to what Field said, then you’re probably hearing the sound of ‘crickets’ right now. Or maybe the sound of a dog barking in the distance. Instead, Field’s tweet was ‘liked’ over 184,000 times and re-tweeted in excess of 41,000 times.

To be fair, Barr and the TBS network which hosts her show, Full Frontal—yes, that’s the name—have both issued apologies. However, there is a world of difference between the midnight tweet by Barr and the pre-prepared monologue delivered by Bee. As Ben Shapiro rightly commented:

These apologies are faker than a $3 bill. Roseanne Barr’s vile comments were unscripted and off-the-cuff; she’s been making nutty and vile statements for years on venues like Twitter. But Bee’s statements were scripted, taped, and then aired. At no point did anyone on Bee’s staff, including Bee, think that perhaps her comments might have crossed a line. Bee regrets nothing except, perhaps, getting caught. The same holds for TBS.

Clearly, Barr and Bee should face the same sanctions as each other for their comments, since both are inexcusable, Bee’s even more so since it was committed with malice aforethought. As Matt Walsh commented:

I was highly critical of Roseanne’s comments about Valerie Jarrett. I supported ABC’s decision to terminate her. Now TBS and Samantha Bee must be held to the same standard. It is not a difficult or stringent standard. It is merely a standard of basic decency. Those who cannot be basically decent, or even minimally decent, or even “don’t call the president’s daughter a c-nt on national TV” decent, should not be given highly visible and highly profitable platforms.

Although, I don’t think any of us should be holding our breath. Welcome to the new nadir of public discourse and cultural injustice.

Mark Powell is the Associate Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Strathfield.

Illustration: Walt Disney Company/ABC.

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