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tv   Nightline  ABC  May 30, 2018 12:37am-1:07am PDT

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this is "nightline." >> tonight, rose ann bar'd. the comedian igniting anger with a racist tweet about a former obama adviser, comparing her to an ape. hours later, abc canceling road ann's mega hit sitcom. now her castmates speaking out. and that obama adviser addressing the comments today. plus trial by twitter. starbucks across the country closing down for a day of an tie bias training, responding to social media fury over two african-american customers forced out of one of their stores. rapper common's message to the coffee chain's employees and how
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corporations are struggling to keep up with outrage outbreaks online. "nightline" will be right back. our 3 contestants are all at the big ikea table. contestant #1, impressive knife skills. but contestant #2 fights back by using fresh parsley. make room for the judge! what's your dream? at ikea, we help you live it. make the dream yours.
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our 3 contestants are all at the big ikea table. contestant #1, impressive knife skills. but contestant #2 fights back by using fresh parsley. make room for the judge! what's your dream? at ikea, we help you live it. make the dream yours. good evening. our lead story tonight happens to involve us, abc. executives at our network today decided to cancel the hit show
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"roseanne" hours after a racist tweet from the star of the show, roseanne barr. this breathtakingly fast fall from grace speaks volumes about america right now, from the nasty nature of our public discourse to the high-risk atmosphere in which major corporations are currently operating. here's abc's matt gutman. >> reporter: with that single inflammatory tweet, roseanne's rising star imploded today. within hour the highly anticipated return of one of tv's most beloved shows, "roseanne," canceled. roseanne barr effectively banished from hollywood for this racist tweet. muslim brotherhood and planet of the apes had a baby equals v.j. the v.j. referred to is valerie jarrett, former adviser to president obama. barr deleted the tweet and tweeted an apology to jarret saying in part, forgive me, my joke was in bad taste. almost no one thought it was
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funny. within hours a's pulled the plug on the show saying roseanne's twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant, and inconsistent with our values and we decided to cancel her show. bob iger, ceo of parent company disney, adding there was only one thing to do here, the right thing. >> racism isn't politically correct. i don't think this is a joke. i think this is actually a racist tweet. and it needs to be dealt with as such. >> reporter: valerie jarrett, the target of rose app's tweet, said iger reached out and apologized before making the news public. she addressed the controversy tonight on msnbc's town hall on racism. >> first of all, i think we have to turn it into a teaching moment. i'm fine, i'm worried about all the people out there who don't have a circle of friends and followers who come right to their defense. >> when you first heard about the tweets what did you think? >> i honestly did not think abc would cancel the show. i thought that they would bide their time, put out statements,
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pull the show from rotation. >> reporter: later today, hulu and viacom following suit, pulling past episodes of the comedy from their platforms. that included its first run in the '80s and '90s. then her agency, icm, dropping her saying she violated our core values. it's a shocking end to the number one show on tv whose premiere in march grabbed 27 million pairs of eyeballs. a show that the network, the cast, and many americans had so much hope for. >> i'm on my way to the set of the "roseanne" show forhe "roseanne" sho reboot. it's been 20 years. i'm so happy to see you. pretty amazing. it's very exciting. but it's very emotionally overwhelming. >> this is one of the biggest stories of the year in television now. roseanne already was huge. it was number one. it came on like a freight train. huge in the ratings. making a lot of money for abc.
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for them to so swiftly cancel this show, they're going to take a hit. >> reporter: a show made for this moment. roseanne's tv family, the connors, are just like any family. complicated, funny, and politically diverse. on the liberal left side of the family tree, roseanne's sister, jackie. >> what's up, deplorable? >> reporter: and on the conservative side, it was dan and roseanne, the politically incorrect edge to the family. >> thank you for making america great again. >> reporter: their roles resonated with metal america with some of the highest numbers of viewers in cities like tulsa, cincinnati, and pittsburgh. we spent time with abc news contributor and conservative pollster frank lunz who brought together a mix of democrats and republicans in a focus group to see if "roseanne" would bring the room together or drive them apart. >> what is it about the current
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political environment that make joot "roseanne" so powerful? >> it gives donald trump vote areas voice not normally seen in pop culture. >> democrats like to show as much or not more than the republicans. >> i don't find it offense it with the jokes. i feel it's a good balance. >> it's having a family that's having blunt dialogue with each other. whereas people among trends are not having blunt dialogues. somebody asked me, why don't you want to talk about it? and i said, because i don't want to argue with you. >> dad, tell her how stupid she's being. >> that's never worked out for me. >> dan! >> reporter: the connor family's return on march 27th was the highest-rated comedy episode on any network in almost four >> it was f beyond any other new show. all the shows you think of as the biggest shows in television, "roseanne" was bigger than that. >> that wouldn't be the jean na, would it? >> reporter: the show, a history of pushing boundariies since it debut in 1988. the race no exception.
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the connors' son, d.j., doesn't want to kiss the black girl in his school play. >> i don't want to kiss gina! >> tough, you're doing it. >> i hate you! >> fine, you don't have to kiss me. >> reporter: in the reboot, d.j. ends up married to that girl. barr's entire career was built on raising eyebrows beginning with her standup act in the 1980s which took a frank look at family life. >> this is her very first appearance on national television. >> reporter: on "the tonight show." >> i hate the word housewife, i prefer domestic goddess. >> reporter: and the national exposure led to her own sitcom. in real life, roseanne barr isn't all that different from roseanne connor. body speak their minds and both are trump supporters. >> have you looked at the news? now things are worse. >> not on the real news. >> reporter: the president capitalizing on her popularity, reaching out to congratulate her on the success of her new show.
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>> even look at roseanne, i called her yesterday. look at her ratings. >> everyone saw roseanne barr and roseanne connor as pretty much the same person because they were both trump supporters. the difference was roseanne connor mostly kept it in, roseanne barr was screaming about it every day on social media in every interview. it was clouding the entire show. >> reporter: where tv roseanne left her controversial words behind on the sound stage, the real roseanne documented hers on social media. >> if you go through her twitter feed, after 2013 you see that it wasn't as much as a one-off, as much as a snapshot. >> reporter: in a now-deleted tweet from 2013, rose ann said this about another african-american woman in the obama administration. susan rice is a man with big swinging ape balls. >> the reality is roseanne's history with these sort of remarks in regards to african-americans had already been documented. yet the network decided to reboot her show anyway.
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maybe perhaps they thought she had changed, perhaps they thought it was a one-off and she wouldn't do anything that offensive. >> reporter: barr also retweeted far-right conspiracy theories, as well as a host of other offensive comments. >> so the thing that might have saved the show is if roseanne barr had acted a little more like roseanne coner? >> yeah, roseanne barr has been controversial over the years, but people managed to look past that to a certain degree, until now. >> have you ever scrolled through her twitter feed? >> i have. there's a lot of conspiracy theories. a lot of nastiness. it's really too bad. a lot of people now are out of work who really depended on this job, and it's unfortunate that tweets and social media killed this show in the end. >> reporter: the reaction came swiftly from those working on the show. comedian wanda sykes, a consulting producer for the series, quitting this morning even before the show was officially canned. actor michael fishman saying he condemns these sames vehemently,
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calling today one of the hardest in his life, adding he's devastated for those who poured hearts and souls into the show. executive producer and actress sara gilbert calling the news sad and difficult, adding they've created a show separate and apart from the opinions and words of one cast member. tonight roseanne apologizing to the show's cast and crew. but it would be too late. abc is replacing "rose ann" with "the middle" in the tuesday 8:00 p.m. slot. the message is clear even for network tv comedy icons. there is a line. >> when do we stop laughing at things that really aren't funny? when do we stop laughing at things that are racist and potentially sowing seeds of dissent with each other? >> can they do a spinoff? what happens to the cast and crew? >> this was ultimately a nice revisit. but i think abc's probably thinking at this point, they came back, they had their run, they got great ratings, and this is it.
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>> reporter: for "nightline," i'm matt gutman in los angeles. next here, on the same day that abc canceled "roseanne," starbucks taking the extraordinary step of closing more than 8,000 stores for the afternoon. what these intertwining stories say about the pressures facing corporate america. >> what do you say to critics who say, look, this is just one big pr stunt? i knew at that exact moment ... i'm beating this. my main focus was to find a team of doctors.
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today we not only witnessed abc fire the star of its top-rated show hours after a racist tweet, but we also saw one of this country's largest
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companies, starbucks, shut down operations at all of its stores for hours in the wake of a separate scandal over race. abc's linsey davisonight on what all this says about the state of corporate america in the age of social media. >> i thought you were dead. >> reporter: abc with a swift and decisive response canceling "roseanne." only hours after her racist tweet about former obama white house adviser valerie jarrett. social media has become both a battlefield and bull horn in our country as it reckons with long-simmering differences over racial, social, and political issues. opposition on each sidearmed not with pitchforks and torches, but keystrokes and hash tags. today's hash tag was #boycottc, some arguing roseanne shoulbe fired. others after the decision was made that she shouldn't have been. >> she was a trump supporter in real life and her character, and there were a lot of people who liked the show because of that.
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and they believed that's the reason the show was canceled. so abc will still face a backlash because of that. but they will overcome it. and that's a backlash they can endure by being on the right side of racism. >> reporter: and today, while abc faced backlash for roseanne's comments, starbucks was responding to backlash of its own, closing stores across the country midday for an afternoon of anti-discrimination training. >> we're going to train 175,000 starbucks partners, we call our employees partners, on this anti-bias training. and we realize that this is just one step in a journey. >> reporter: that step a direct response to this video that went viral last month. showing two black men being arrested for what police said was trespassing at a philadelphia starbucks. ♪ keep on walking ♪ >> reporter: the incident sparked outrage across the country. calls for boycotts. starbucks accused of racism. >> the point is, this moment
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represents a time in american life where corporations can't get away with the same old status quo response to racism. >> reporter: the men, rashaun nelson and donte robinson, were in philadelphia's upscale ritten house square area, waiting to meet a potential business associate who lives in the neighborhood. >> a real estate meeting. we've been working on this for months. >> reporter: they'd arrived early and rashaun asked the woman at the counter if he could use the restroom. >> she stated that they were for paying customers only. and i just left it at that. >> reporter: minutes later the manager called the police. >> hi, i have two gentlemen in my cafe that are refusing to make a purchase or leave. >> reporter: police arrive, so does andrew yaffe, the friend they were waiting for. rashad and donte were arrested and held in custody for several hours. without delay, company chairman howard schultz acknowledged on cbs that bias was at the root of what happened. >> reason they were called was because they were african-american. and i think -- i'm embarrassed
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by that i'm ashamed of that. >> reporter: kevin johnson, starbucks' ceo, apologized. >> i'll say the circumstances surrounding the incident and the outcome in our store on thursday were reprehensible. they were wrong. and for that i personally apologize to the two gentlemen that visited our store. >> reporter: and today starbucks took things a step further with company-wide training on diversity. >> we have a set of content that includes a workbook for teams to work together, some video content, a lot of self-exploration, and group discussion. so it's a very experiential activity. the entire leadership team and i took this training last week and i'd say at the end of it we were emotionally exhausted. but we were inspired. because we learned something and we felt like this could open up a dialogue and allow us to not only be better individuals but allow us to be better as a company. >> it is very difficult to change implicit bias in a four-hour session, or even a
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four-month session. but what we can do is make people more aware of their biases. and if starbucks is committed to doing this on a continuous basis, might be able to change the experiences of se customers. >> what do you say to critics who say, look, this is just one big pr stunt? >> this is not a pr stunt. this is an investment in the future of starbucks. this will be a long journey, but it's one we are committed to. you know, these are hard issues. when you begin dialogue around race and racial bias. but we're approaching it in a serious, thoughtful way with a lot of help from our outside advisers, and we think this is going to make a meaningful difference in who we are as a company and how we show up in the future. >> reporter: following the parkland shooting, there was #boycottnra. in response at least a dozen companies, including delta airlines, metlife insurance, and wyndham hotels, cut ties with the nra and ended discount programs. and sometimes the virtual protests force about face-to-face confrontations.
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take waffle house. >> the customers are eating, they are happening to be white customers only. >> reporter: after two racially charged incidents were caught on tape the same day, waffle house met with protesters at their headquarters in atlanta. >> before social media, companies had a luxury of either being in denial about how the public felt, or choosing to act otherwise. but with social media, every person has their own media outlet, every person's their own publisher. and when something like this gets going, it's literally a wildfire on social media. and it's not controllable. and the company has to make decisions. >> i think social media is prompting companies to be more proactive than they normally would have been, where we maybe in the past would have seen people try and ride out the storm. you can't do that anymore. >> reporter: today abc's response reafirming the notion that free speech doesn't mean you won't pay a price for what you say. >> disney has been a leader in
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promoting positive images of african-americans. on disney channel they have doc mcstuffens, they have "black- h "black-ish," they're the studio behind "black panther." you can't have it both ways. you can't be the leader then lag behind when it comes to doing the right thing. >> reporter: for "nightline" i'm linsey davis in new york. next, a new job and a medal of bravery for the spider-man of paris. hear that sizzle? yeah. red lobster's lobster & shrimp summerfest is back! get all the lobster and shrimp you crave, together in so many new ways. there's new cedar plank seafood bake. tender maine lobster and shrimp, cedar roasted to perfection. or new caribbean lobster and shrimp. sweet pineapple salsa on grilled rock lobster, paired with jumbo coconut shrimp. and wait. there's lobster & shrimp overboard!
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tplefor state superintendent.d the children of california. and he will make sure ng person every child in california make fight against donald trump . when the worst oil spill hit san francisco, first responders went to work. and mayor gavin newsom, he went to hawaii. man: newsome left the day after the spill for a four-day vacation in hawaii. the same gavin who said his job as lieutenant governor was so dull, he only showed up for work at the state capitol one day a week, tops. gavin's not gonna work as governor.
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may have seen the video of this daring rescue in paris. a 4-year-old boy hangingff of a high-up balcony by his fingertips. this stranger, 22-year-old mamaduke gossama, climbing to the child's recuse. he's been hailed a hero and nicknamed the spider-man. now he is a member of the french fire brigade, offered a paid internship with the department. he's been given a fast track to
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citizenship and awarded a well-deserved medal for bravery and devotion by the french president, emmanuel macron. congratulations to paris' friendly neighborhood fireman/spider-man. thank you for watching "nightline" tonight. as always we're online 24/7 on our "nightline" facebook page. thank you again for watching and good night.
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