- In his new memoir, Disney CEO Bob Iger says it was his decision to fire Roseanne Bar.
- Last May, Barr compared President Barack Obama’s former advisor, Valerie Jarrett, to an ape on Twitter, resulting in her firing from the network and the cancellation of her “Roseanne” revival.
- “If any of our employees tweeted what she tweeted, they’d be immediately terminated,” Iger wrote.
- Iger said he didn’t think of any financial repercussions despite “Roseanne” being the biggest show on TV.
- He said he met with Barr a few weeks prior to warn her to stay off of the social media site.
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In his new memoir, “The Ride of a Lifetime,” Disney CEO Bob Iger says it was his decision to fire Roseanne Barr from ABC and cancel “Roseanne” after the show’s star sent out a tweet comparing President Barack Obama’s former advisor to an ape.
Iger got on the phone with then-head of ABC Entertainment Channing Dungey, then-President of Disney-ABC TV Ben Sherwood, and Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Zenia Mucha to discuss what action to take.
“We don’t have a choice here,” Iger said he told his colleagues. “We have to do what’s right. Not what’s politically correct, and not what’s commercially correct. Just what’s right.”
“If any of our employees tweeted what she tweeted, they’d be immediately terminated,” Iger added, telling his colleagues to tell him if they thought he was “crazy.” No one pushed back.
Before Iger brought up the idea to fire Barr, the choices on the table ranged from “a suspension and loss of pay to a severe warning and public rebuke.” Iger wrote he didn’t think that was enough. No one mentioned firing her.
A few weeks before Barr’s tweet, Iger said the two had lunch together. He said he was aware of the star’s controversial tweets in the past and he warned her to stay away from the social media site.
“You’ve got to stay off Twitter,” Iger said he told Roseanne. “You’ve got a great thing going here… Don’t blow it.”
At the time, the “Roseanne” revival wasn’t only ABC’s biggest hit, it was also the biggest show on TV.
“I never asked what the financial repercussions would be, and didn’t care,” wrote Iger. “In moments like that, you have to look past whatever the commercial losses are and be guided, again, by the simple rule that there’s nothing more important than the quality and integrity of your people and your product.”
“Everything depends on upholding that principle,” he added.
After “Roseanne” was cancelled, ABC announced a spinoff, “The Conners,” in which Barr’s character was killed off the series.
Despite not being the rating’s powerhouse that the “Roseanne” revival was, “The Conners” is still very popular for ABC, averaging about 7 million viewers per week. A second season of “The Conners” debuted on ABC Tuesday night.