Editor’s Note: Carrie Sheffield, a conservative commentator, is the founder of Bold, a digital news network committed to bipartisan dialogue. The opinions expressed in this commentary are her own.
The story of the racist, vile tweet that rightfully got Roseanne Barr’s sitcom reboot canceled is the first chapter in a tale of two comedians illustrating a glaring double standard about how gatekeepers of American culture tolerate offensive remarks from liberals and excoriate them from conservatives.
Chapter two begins with a vulgar and wildly inappropriate comment from comedian Samantha Bee, in which she called Ivanka Trump a “feckless c***” Unlike Barr, who got the axe for inappropriate comments directed at a former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, Bee, hasn’t been fired yet by TBS. While she and TBS have apologized for the remark, conservatives won’t be surprised if she’s not fired as Barr was.
It may be easy to assume that Bee was let off easy for her remarks because it was her first offense, but that is not the case. She has a history of making offensive comments. In one instance last year, she made fun of a young man with cancer who was at the Conservative Political Action Conference, saying that he had Nazi hair. She later apologized for the comment, noting that she was unaware he had cancer when she made the remark.
But Bee isn’t the only one getting a pass for attacks on conservatives or conservative ideology. The odious “humor” from comedian Michelle Wolf, who casually joked about taking innocent life through abortion at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner (a far cry from the old-school liberal mantra for trying to keep abortions “safe, legal and rare”) along with a host of other raunchy insults, simply served as a launching pad for her new Netflix show.
ABC, the same network that canceled “Roseanne” allowed anti-Trump Joy Behar to keep her job after saying Christians who believe Jesus speaks to them are mentally ill, which belittles the idea of Christian prayer. In the minds of ABC execs, it appears that some religious bigotry is allowed if you’re criticizing the Trump family or Christian politicians as part of your drumbeat.
Similarly, HBO executives keep Democratic donor Bill Maher on the payroll despite his use of the n-word on air, for which he apologized, and reportedly calling Sarah Palin a c***, which he responded to by saying, “if I hurt somebody’s feelings, I’m always sorry about that. I’m not trying to hurt somebody’s feelings. But if you want me to say, ‘I’m sorry what I said was wrong,’ no, sorry I can’t go there.”
Record labels and tech platforms still help Jay-Z monetize his wares despite his misogynistic lyrics that objectify and dehumanize women. It’s an emblem of the Hollywood hypocrisy – Jay-Z performed on stage for Hillary Clinton, a candidate who campaigned on female empowerment.
The list of the blind hypocrisy of the American entertainment complex goes on and on, but it’s symptomatic of its deep liberal leanings. Neil Gross, professor of sociology at Colby College, analyzes why Hollywood tilts so far left and reports “Where conservatives empathize foremost with family members and country, liberals extend the bounds of empathy to include friends, the socially disadvantaged and citizens of the world, to whom they’d like government to lend a hand.”
Yet Gross points out “If that’s the case, though, it testifies to the remarkable human capacity for hypocrisy that, until now, the bounds of empathy among liberal men in Hollywood have not stretched to include female actors subject to sexual and economic exploitation,”
As I said in a CNN conversation with Don Lemon, I agreed with prior guest Cornel West when he told Anderson Cooper that with Barr we can love the sinner but hate the sin, a concept so commonly spoken yet so rarely lived. What Barr said was inexcusably horrific, both in its own right and in light of America’s sordid history of slavery, Jim Crow and other codified racism. Yet neither Barr nor any Trump supporter is irredeemable, contra Clinton’s claim.
Progressives who believe in the redemptive power of empathy, compassion and forgiveness for, say, formerly incarcerated men and women looking to rehabilitate their lives somehow stop short for empathizing with any conservative who says something wrong. Until the left can learn to bring justice against its own inflammatory rhetoric, the country’s culture will continue to be divided.