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From ‘Roseanne’ to Weinstein, A New Day Dawns for Hollywood Justice (Column)

I’m feeling somewhat more optimistic than usual about Hollywood these days, thanks to some recent comeuppances in the business that we cover.

I applaud ABC for taking such swift action against the toxic Roseanne Barr last week, canceling her show mere hours after a storm of public outrage erupted online over her racist tweet about former Obama administration adviser Valerie Jarrett. And there was more fallout when three Viacom cable channels and Hulu quickly followed suit by yanking episodes of her old show.

Of course, while ABC’s instant stand against such blatant racism was certainly admirable, I have to agree with the many journalists — including our own TV critic, Caroline Framke — who rightly questioned how the network could have greenlit the “Roseanne” revival knowing (and ignoring) Barr’s abhorrent history of “spewing hate for years” across social media with her insane conspiracy theories and angry rants. Hopefully Barr’s TV career is sunk for good.

The Roseanne debacle came on the heels of another case of a long overdue reckoning against Hollywood’s creep of creeps, Harvey Weinstein. How damn satisfying was it to see the man who has been formally charged with rape and sexual misconduct doing the perp walk on television news?

And, let’s not forget Bill Cosby’s conviction in late April. While his original trial in 2017 resulted in a hung jury, his retrial in a Pennsylvania court found the former family sitcom star guilty on three counts of sexual assault. Dozens of women had accused Cosby of drugging and molesting them from a period that spanned the mid-1960s to 2008. As with Weinstein, and dozens of other sexual predators who have been outed in the #MeToo, Time’s Up era, Cosby finally had to face the music.

I’m a big believer in consequences for wrongdoers — and there are many more across the entertainment and media industries left to fall. It’s not as easy to hide as it used to be.

There’s reason to hope that the just deserts served up to the Harveys, Cosbys and Roseannes of the world will have a chilling effect on anyone stupid enough to think they can get away with those kinds of despicable acts.

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