Tim Allen defended Roseanne Barr while promoting his revived show "Last Man Standing" during the TCA summer press tour.
ABC canceled Allen's show last year, but it was later picked up by Fox. ABC fired Barr from "Roseanne," giving the rest of the cast their own show called "The Conners."
Tim Allen was asked if he thought ABC was right to fire Barr in May over her racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, which she later deleted as "a bad joke" spawned by "Ambien tweeting."
In his answer, Allen defended the woman he knew in his answer:
"I go way back with Rosie and that’s not the Rosie I know. She was the most diverse and tolerant woman I’ve ever known for a long time. Whatever got in her head isn’t the Roseanne I know. It’s a very icy time. I’ve been a comedian for 38 years and I’ve never seen it, like Lenny Bruce said at the Purple Onion, ‘We’ve gone backwards.’ There are things you can’t say. There are things you shouldn’t say. Who makes up these rules? And as a stand-up comic, it’s a dangerous position to be in because I like pushing buttons. It's very sensitive. I don't know what Roseanne [meant] … but that's not the woman I know. Whatever came out of that, whatever she said by that, she is inclusive and tolerant. It's unfortunate."
When pressed to answer what he thought about ABC's decision to fire her, Allen said:
"They had to do what they had to do and that's their decision. I know Barr, and she's not that person."
Allen also finally agreed with ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey to say ABC didn't cancel "Last Man Standing" over his politics -- which were known going in, just like Roseanne's. Instead, he said it was a matter of the ownership structure of the show. Renewal for ABC would require large licensing fees, and greater production costs, in addition to Allen's salary. That's part of why Fox was a good fit to pick the show up -- the show is partly owned by 20th Century Fox Television.
Allen went into detail about what his show will be like at Fox, and how it will differ from "Roseanne." The conversation was focused around Roseanne, but since he seems to be pushing back against a culture that silences comedy -- including Twitter jokes -- do you think he feels the same way about Disney firing James Gunn for his rape/pedophilia tweets of many years ago?
So much of this debate has broken down on political lines, but if the argument is that people should be able to tweet "jokes" without repercussions, does that go for everyone? ABC and Marvel Studios are both owned by Disney, which does seem to have a higher standard of behavior than most studios to protect its brand. (Not that Walt Disney himself would pass any modern test.)
"Last Man Standing" premieres Friday, September 28 at 8 p.m. on Fox.
[Via: THR, EW]
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