Money v. morals

The entertainment world’s dirty little secret — that money trumps morals — was on display again this week.

After actress Roseanne Barr was fired by ABC over a racist tweet, stories of other questionable behavior began surfacing. An old picture of her dressed as Adolf Hitler and pulling a pan of burnt cookies out of an oven was produced.

Her one-time claim, later discredited and recanted, to have been a victim of incest came up. So did her 1990 performance in grabbing at her crotch while she was singing the national anthem before a ball game.

And some people who knew her said her bigotry was no surprise. For her part, Barr insists she is not a racist. She used a tweet to blame her firing this week on “one stupid joke in a lifetime of fighting 4 civil rights 4 all minorities…”

But it has been clear for years that Barr could behave erratically and offensively. So why did ABC bring her back to network television?

Money, of course. Her new show was wildly popular among some.

Coincidentally, former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was indicated Wednesday on rape and other sex charges in New York. Scores of women have said he assaulted them over a period of many years.

Weinstein’s brutishness was an open secret for a long time in Hollywood — yet the entertainment industry put up with him. Why? He made lots and lots of money for big movie companies.

Barr and Weinstein are not alone. A substantial number of entertainment industry figures have been accused of wrongdoing during the past year — though their proclivities were well known.

Money cannot buy happiness, it is said. Clearly, however, in the movie and television industries, it can buy immunity.


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