I wanted to discuss the statements of Roseanne Barr, involving Valerie Jarrett, and the consequences of those statements. While the statements are horrible, the reaction was in many ways pathetic.
First off, let’s compare the crimes of Roseanne Barr and Valerie Jarrett. Barr made a number of apparently racist comments, at the early hours of the morning, on Tuesday May 29, of 2018. That was her crime. Valerie Jarrett worked alongside Barack Obama, as a very close foreign policy adviser, during a period of time when the US military was actively engaging in terrorist strikes (double tap drone strikes) against numerous countries, which slaughtered innocent men, women, and children. At the very least, her crime was never speaking out against those actions. She may very well have been involved in decisions leading to them. So Valerie Jarrett is a war criminal, alongside of Barack Obama. Barr is, at most, a bigot.
Now, Barr decided to partially blame her tweets on Ambien. Elon Musk has also blamed some bizarre tweets on the drug. Is that possible? Yes. The drug has been linked to Impulse-Control disorder (source). But Sanofi responded by saying that racism is not a side effect of the drug. In a way this statement is true. Culture leads to racism. As soon as we have a concept of race, we will start judging people by race. If we hear racist terms, we learn them. That does not mean that we use them, or that we act in a racist way. Why not? Our brain is constantly sifting though responses to stimulus. Most of the time, those responses are rejected. That’s impulse control. Our brain differentiates between correct/proper actions and statements and improper ones. But without impulse control, that changes. Sanofi, I’m sure, is aware of the science, but obviously wants to try to protect itself.
Now, even if Barr was completely aware of what she was saying, and not under the influence of any drug, the reaction was extreme. ABC immediately cancelled the show, which not only punished Barr, but also punished every single person involved in the show. The cast is likely to find new work, but it is going to be much more difficult for the crew to find work. Furthermore, to punish someone so severely, for a tweet, or series of tweets, over the course of a single night, admits that in this world, a single mistake can cost you everything. Of course, some mistakes can. For instance, if you rob a bank, and run over someone while trying to get away, that mistake is very costly. But Jarrett’s crime, as already mentioned, is far worse, and yet she is protected and respected, while Barr and everyone connected with her show, is punished.
Is there a better punishment? I think so. ABC could have told Barr that she could continue working on the show, but as punishment, her pay for the entirety of season 2 would be minimum wage. Then if Barr did not take the option, all of those out of work would be on her shoulders, not anyone else’s. As it stands, ABC has caused significant harm to a lot of people, over a series of tweets.