Lowering the Barr

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Deb Brown, Partner and Managing Director at Peppercomm.  

Kudos to ABC and Disney for taking a courageous stand against the star and executive producer of its highest rated show “Roseanne,” canceling the series due to an outrageous racist tweet from Roseanne Barr yesterday. The highly insensitive tweet was an attack on Valerie Jarrett, a former senior advisor to President Barack Obama.

Although Barr apologized, others involved in the show and ABC still did the right thing and distanced themselves from Barr, underscoring that apologies are just not enough. Some words have serious consequences and hollow apologies just don’t cut it. ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungy was quoted as saying, “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”

Inconsistent with our values. Four powerful words that speak volumes.

Recently, Peppercomm and the Institute for Public Relations interviewed 50 different CCOs/CMOs to ask them about the new normal we now live in, the frequent societal crises they now face, and whether or not they have a purpose that guides them in making tough decisions, such as taking a stand for or against an issue. The study, which is the third in the series, is called Taking a Stand: How CMOs and CCOs are Redefining Their Roles in Today’s Highly Charged Social, Cultural and Political Climate,” and is being released today. And born from the study is a new service offering from Peppercomm that helps corporations prepare for and handle a societal crisis as well as develop its purpose, if needed.

Roseanne became her own societal crisis, lowering the Barr even further on horrific tweets. ABC and Disney, on the other hand, are the latest corporations that continue to raise the bar on doing the right thing, speaking up and taking a stand.

8 thoughts on “Lowering the Barr

  1. Sanofi easily wins best corporate response of the 21st Century, so far.

    We have a long way to go. Our Tweeter-in-Chief stepped in, deciding that he transcends racism.Today he’s whining that ABC owes HIM an apology for a forgotten news report that got Brian Ross suspended for a month.

    • Agreed we have a long way to go, but it’s encouraging to see many corporations taking a stand on different issues. And Sanofi definitely had one of the best responses! Delta’s CEO did as well when he stood up to the NRA and the state of Georgia after the Parkland shooting when he said “Our values are not for sale.”

  2. What was also commendable about the decision was that it didn’t take days or weeks for Channing/ABC to denounce Barr’s comments and announce the cancelation of the show. It is important for companies to react to these real-time crises swiftly and thoughtfully for consumers to believe it is authentic.

    • Absolutely, Nick! Making the right decision and being swift are key. Really good point!

  3. Looks like Barr blamed her comment on Ambien, to which Sanofi US, the drug company that makes Ambien, responded on Twitter: “People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world. While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”