Roseanne Barr, the comedian whose show was canceled by ABC last week, made unacceptable, crude and indefensible statements about Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to former President Barack Obama. Barr made a major mistake that carried consequences for herself and her co-stars in the popular re-boot of her "Roseanne" television show.
So, it's good to have consequences for behavior that's criminal, unethical, harmful or hurtful, right? Sounds like a standard we should support, right? Well, it depends, you see. But the political left believes there should be two standards, or even more.
When Samantha Bee, a comedian and TV host who is to receive an award for "advancing social change" for her Emmy award-winning show "Full Frontal," tears into Ivanka Trump, her vulgarity was embraced by some and overlooked by the same crowd demanding Barr's firing. Using the vilest reference to a woman's genitals, Bee attacked the president's daughter while arguing about illegal immigration. No firing, though.
Wanda Sykes, a comedian who left the "Roseanne" show as a writer before ABC's official cancellation of the show, was indignant about Barr's "extreme" comments. Hmm. Yes, this is the same Wanda Sykes who while hosting the 2010 White House Correspondents Dinner called Rush Limbaugh 9/11's 20th terrorist who missed his flight because he was strung out on prescription drugs. It's the same Wanda Sykes who called audience members mother (expletive) when they booed her act that included the comment, "I am certain this is not the first time we've elected a racist, sexist, homophobic president," in reference to Donald Trump's November 2016 upset of Hillary Clinton. No apologies.
And, earlier this year, ABC allowed one of its hosts of "The View" to apologize after she aimed at Vice President Mike Pence's Christian faith but hit her intended target of all Christians through an insult about mental illness. You remember, "It's one thing to talk to Jesus. It's another thing when Jesus talks to you. That's called mental illness, if I'm not correct. That's hearing voices." She was sorry the next day and remains as host today.
And, where was the apology from Disney-ABC, the owner of ESPN, when Jemele Hill used her sports show platform to call President Trump a white supremacist who surrounds himself with other white supremacists? That's right. There was no apology. Hill's departure from ESPN, from all reports, was of her own volition months later.
We need standards. But to apply standards to some while not to others is not just hypocritical, it reinforces bad behavior. The purpose of standards is to reinforce the acceptable while punishing the unacceptable.
Selectively applying consequences spans the spectrum of issues — from illegal immigration to punishment of crime and corruption to the results of a society that's devastated by broken, unstable families, to name a few.
There are those who will choose wrong versus right. There are people who will make poor judgments and cross the line of what is acceptable.
Applying consistent standards means there are real consequences to bad behavior. Instead of relying on a sliding scale of what is appropriate, let's agree on what those standards are.
Robin Smith, a former chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party, owns Rivers Edge Alliance.