Free speech is under attack and it will backfire. Mark my words.

No one can defend what Roseanne said about Obama hack Valerie Jarrett, but you certainly can defend her right to say it. Particularly when others are equally or even more vile and are not judged as harshly. The First Amendment to the Constitution protects your right to free speech. Even if that speech is offensive to some, it is protected. You have a right to say stupid things if you'd like.

True, Roseanne Barr was employed by Disney/ABC when she likened Jarrett to an ape. Disney/ABC is within its rights to fire Roseanne for her behavior, particularly if it perceives said behavior to be detrimental to business. The people will support Disney/ABC, even if they disagree with the decision.

But comedienne Wanda Sykes, who is also employed by Disney/ABC on the Roseanne program as a producer, only recently referred to President Donald Trump as "(WARNING: NSFW) an orangutan" and was booed off the stage but, was rewarded by Disney/ABC with the Roseanne gig.

Point Honors Los Angeles 2017, Benefiting Point Foundation - Inside
Getty Images for Point Honors

See what I mean? That's a double standard. The public will support condemnation of bad behavior, but only when it is doled out equally.

Roseanne apologized for her stupid remarks about Jarrett less than an hour after tweeting them and was still fired. It took Disney/ABC The View host Joy Behar nearly a month to acknowledge her inappropriate remarks about Vice President Mike Pence's religion, and she was never sanctioned by the same company that punished Roseanne.

Roseanne is a "deplorable." She is not one of the cool kids at the lunch table in Hollywood, so the rules are a bit different for people like her. But Roseanne's program connected with the rest of the "deplorables" out there, who are angry that the system seems to work against them and that is why it's a hit. "Deplorables" are angry about what happened to Roseanne and could reflect that anger in the midterm elections.

Oh, and what about a strong, outspoken woman who happens to promote conservatism and not the Hollywood party line?

We are a sharply divided nation. Firing Roseanne and canceling her program may be viewed as a pivotal point that backfires profoundly on those who wish to silence their opposition. The world is changing fast..

Trust me, this is far from over.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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