All the Stupid Ways Media Outlets Avoided Calling Roseanne Racist

Photo: Andy Kropa (AP Images)

Roseanne Barr has become a racist, transphobic, Islamophobic bigot, but that doesn’t mean that a whole host of media companies actually have the nerve to say that out loud.

Evidence of this fact came after Barr “joked” that President Barack Obama’s adviser Valerie Jarrett is a cross between the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes. Ha ha ha. The joke is that it’s racist. (Barr subsequently apologized.)

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Screenshot: Roseanne Barr (Twitter)

But since actually saying that racist things are racist is beyond many of our top media organizations, they have instead resorted to some excruciatingly lame-ass euphemisms in order to avoid the dreaded “r” word. (Splinter, for our part, called the Jarrett tweet racist as part of a broader story about a different set of Barr’s terrible tweets). Here are some of the better ones.

“Bizarre”:

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“Ape joke”:

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Just be extremely literal and descriptive, I guess:

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“Racial slur”:

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And, of course... “racially charged”:  

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(I have asked all of these outlets to clarify what the difference between “racist” and “racially charged” is, and will update if I hear back.)

Some outlets also changed their headlines after people pointed out they were bad. After Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery called his own paper’s use of “racially charged” out, for instance, the Post went from this...

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Screenshot: Washington Post

...to this:

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See, that wasn’t so hard!

Update, 1:58 PM: ABC announced that it has canceled Roseanne’s television show, calling her tweet “abhorrent” and “repugnant.” Even this was not enough to get some places to call her a racist.

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About the author

Rafi Schwartz

Senior writer. When in doubt he'll have the soup.