Disney CEO Bob Iger: Firing Roseanne Barr was ‘Easy Decision’

Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Robert A. Iger makes his remarks during a gathering attended by first lady Michelle Obama announcing that Disney will become the first major media company to introduce new standards for food advertising on programming targeting kids and families at the Newseum in Washington, Tuesday, …
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Disney CEO Bob Iger recently said that his decision to fire Roseanne Barr from her own hit TV show was an “easy” one to make.

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey on her Super Soul Sunday talk show on the Oprah Winfrey Network, Iger said that he did not really have to give any thought at all to the firing of the sitcom star. It was just the “right” thing to do.

In May of 2018, Barr tweeted out a slam on former Obama operative Valarie Jarrett by invoking the Planet of the Apes. Barr later apologized for her tweet, said she was not aware that Jarrett was a black woman, and said she was suffering a side effect from the drug Ambien when she wrote the tweet.

Despite the apology, liberals called Barr a “bigot” for the comment, and in only a matter of days, Iger decided to fire her from her hit show.

“It took about five minutes to know what we had to do,” Iger told Winfrey. “It seemed completely insensitive, completely disrespectful. It was very clear. The decision, it was easy to make.”

“What she had done was very, very clear,” Iger added. “I didn’t believe any context could make this better or acceptable or could result in us forgiving her. So we did it. And you also know, in today’s world, if there’s a decision to be made by you, make it — because otherwise the world will make it for you, and that’s never good.”

In other comments, Iger has said that he would have fired anyone for comments such as the ones by Barr and that the financial costs of firing the star of a hit sitcom did not matter to him.

“I never asked what the financial repercussions would be, and didn’t care,” Iger wrote in his book The Ride of a Lifetime. “In moments like that, you have to look past whatever the commercial losses are and be guided, again, by the simple rule that there’s nothing more important than the quality and integrity of your people and your product… Everything depends on upholding that principle.”

During the OWN interview, Winfrey also pleaded for Iger to run for president.

Winfrey also praised Iger and stumped for him to run for president at a recent awards ceremony.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


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