Check the headlines and you’ll likely come across a story about a celebrity or public figure portraying themselves in an unflattering light on social media. What is usually the end result? Job loss. Career cancellation. Public humiliation. And that’s just the beginning.
Roseanne Barr is a current example of a person egregiously mismanaging their social media presence. She basically torpedoed her career that she worked for decades to build in one tweet that came across as racially insensitive — to say the least, of course.
Let’s rewind a bit. Roseanne Barr has always been an incendiary character. From her infamous national anthem attempt to dressing like Adolf Hitler himself for a photo shoot, Barr has never been a stranger to controversy. Many folks who walk in her same circles expressed a lack of surprise at this most recent controversial statement due to her penchant for stirring the pot.
Whatever Barr said and whatever she truly meant by her statement to Valerie Jarrett, the matter cost her a #1 show on ABC — a show which bore her name.
Roseanne Barr started as a successful comedian. Back in 1986 she performed on a Rodney Dangerfield special as well as David Letterman. In 1987 she had her own HBO special (The Roseanne Barr Show) which earned her an American Comedy Award (Funniest Female Performer in a TV Special). The following year her sitcom Roseanne premiered on 18 October 1988 — it was watched by 21.4 million households, the highest-rated debut of the season, actually. In short, she etched out her place in a less-than-inclusive world to women.
Twenty years later, the Roseanne revival put up massive numbers on its Tuesday night premier. ABC had aired back-to-back episodes of Barr’s show in the coveted 8-9 p.m. time slot. The show ended up generating a 5.1 rating (for adults 18-49), not to mention 18.2 million viewers.
The show continued to put up impressive numbers and top the list until Barr took it upon herself to take aim at Valerie Jarrett, attacking her politics and looks.
Channing Dungey, president of ABC Entertainment, was just as appalled as everyone else by Roseanne’s harsh words, calling her Twitter statement, “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values,” further revealing that he (and ABC) “have decided to cancel her show.”
Dungey’s statement was released just hours after Barr’s offensive social media rant.
This is only the latest example, of course. Sure, many weren’t surprised by Roseanne Barr being in the headlines for what was at the very least an ill-timed, poorly-thought-out insult. She has engaged in controversy in the past, has held and facilitated conspiracy theories, and has engaged in fringe politics — all of which work to alienate large groups of people from her audience.
But even popular, liberal public figures and celebs have come under fire for making harsh statements on social media and on TV itself! Samantha Bee, for instance, has come under fire for making insensitive statements on air about Ivanka Trump, which has resulted in Bee getting ditched by advertisers.
Social media and online reputation management are both full time jobs, which is why Janet Pribanic continues to offer insights into public relations as a way to educate people and prevent making mistakes that are easy to avoid.