Executive producers and cast members of the Roseanne show onstage during the ABC Television/Disney portion of the 2018 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour at the Langham Huntington, Pasadena, on Jan. 8, 2018, in Pasadena, Calif.
Photo: Frederick M. Brown (Getty Images)

For the past few days I have been searching throughout my house for a fuck to give about the people who lost their jobs because of Roseanne Barr’s antics.

I looked in each of the closets in each of our bedrooms. I looked in the fridge. I looked in the basement. I looked in between the cushions in both of our living room couches. I looked through every cupboard, every drawer and every cabinet. I looked beneath every bed. I even looked on the small table next to the front door. We sometimes store mail there, and perhaps I’d find the elusive fuck underneath our unopened bills. But alas, no fucks were found. My search for the desired fuck has been fruitless.


“But,” I can imagine some people wanting to say, “shouldn’t you be able to locate at least one fuck for those people who are now unemployed because of something their boss did? They’re innocent! You don’t maybe have a fuck stashed away in an old shoebox or something that you can give? We all have stashes of fucks!”

If you are one of these people, welcome! I’m glad you decided to join us today! And you are right! I do have a stash of emergency fucks! But, regrettably, none for those who are now jobless because Roseanne went full Roseanne. And while I won’t provide you with one of these precious and stashed fucks, I’ll give you something even better: an explanation.

Roseanne’s politics and penchant for racially charged provocations—or, rather, “jokes”—were not a secret. In fact, the reboot of Roseanne exists specifically because everyone from Roseanne herself and actress (and executive producer) Sara Gilbert to Wanda Sykes and ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey apparently believed that a show led by Roseanne and infused with her politics, persona and comedic sensibilities would be good TV in 2018. Not only did they very much know who she was/is, but they were counting on a controlled version of it to headline a successful (and profitable) show.

And so, the people who signed up to work on Roseanne and for Roseanne knew that they were signing up to work on Roseanne and for Roseanne. They knew that she was capable of saying what she said about Valerie Jarrett because she has said things like that before. Again, they knew this. This week has provided no new revelations about her behavior. No secrets just recently uncovered. They just didn’t know that the public backlash would be so severe that it would force ABC into a decision.


Of course, I wouldn’t suggest that all of the people who worked on the show share Roseanne’s racism. But they were fine enough with it to work on the show. They didn’t give enough fucks about it until it affected them personally and cost them their jobs. Funny how that works.

Anyway, I just had an epiphany about my still-yet-to-be-discovered fuck. Maybe, if I look hard enough, I’ll find mine in the same place they lost theirs.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a columnist for GQ.com, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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