A Double Standard at Disney

ABC, owned by the Walt Disney Company, canceled its popular Roseanne show within hours after its star, Roseanne Barr, sent a racist tweet. Barr’s 11-word post attacked Valerie Jarrett, who had served as a senior adviser to President Barack Obama.

Roseanne Barr sent a racist tweet

Not only did ABC terminate the show, but Disney Chairman and CEO Robert Iger weighed in, announcing via Twitter that “There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.”

While ABC and Disney reacted swiftly to Barr’s offensive statement, neither has yet lifted a finger to rectify a Disney-sponsored program steeped in bigotry—A&E’s Aftermath—a viciously biased show that has actually engendered violence against Scientology Churches and Scientologists.

The bigotry of that show’s principal, Leah Remini, appears not only in biased content, but in her own life.

The STANDleague.org website contains numerous letters and extensive documentation provided to Disney, seeking to redress wrongs fomented by the religious hatred that A&E’s programming has spawned. Letters and video content on the site show violence directed against members and Churches, as well as children bullied at school, resulting from Aftermath programs.

The bigotry of that show’s principal, Leah Remini, appears not only in biased content, but in her own life. Singer Stacy Francis, for example, has stated that Remini “disparages black people…. She called my son a ‘niglet.’” Francis is African-American.

How can one describe the Disney double standard that reacts instantly to an 11-word tweet but maintains utter silence in the face of 16 hour-long programs linked to more than 500 threats of murder, arson and other violence?

Sanctimonious? Hypocritical? Either or both serve.

Disney, Robert Iger and others have remained conspicuously silent even after three members of Remini’s fan base have been convicted of felonies committed as a result of her hate speech.

How is it that hate speech against one is actionable, but hate speech and violent conduct against others is not?

“It is long past time for Disney and others in Hollywood to treat everyone with dignity and equality—not just those to whom they feel beholden,” said Edward Parkin, International Director of STAND.