President Donald Trump has called on Bob Iger, president of The Walt Disney Company, to apologize for the plethora of slurs that his employees have hurled at Trump on air.
Trump’s comments come after Iger personally called to apologize to Valerie Jarrett, a close associate of former President Barack Obama, who was recently addressed in an insulting tweet by Roseanne Barr, star of the ABC show Roseanne. ABC is owned by Disney.
“Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that ‘ABC does not tolerate comments like those’ made by Roseanne Barr. Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn’t get the call?” Trump wrote in a tweet on Wednesday, May 30.
Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that “ABC does not tolerate comments like those” made by Roseanne Barr. Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn’t get the call?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2018
On May 29, Barr posted a tweet that read: “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” referring to Valerie Jarrett.
The comment was picked up by the media as racist because Jarrett, despite her light complexion, is half-black, and calling black people monkeys or apes is a racial slur.
Barr deleted the tweet and repeatedly apologized for the comment, saying it was indefensible, though noting she wrote it in the middle of the night under the influence of Ambien, a sedative that has been reported to cause sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and erratic, bizarre behavior.
“I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans. I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks. I should have known better. Forgive me—my joke was in bad taste,” she wrote on Twitter later that day.
I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans. I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks. I should have known better. Forgive me-my joke was in bad taste.
— Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) May 29, 2018
Still, within hours, she was fired and her show cancelled.
That inflamed her fans, who criticized ABC for hypocrisy since the network has given jobs and kept people with more a questionable record than Barr.
Disney, for example, hired actor Brian Peck, a child sex offender convicted of performing lewd acts on a child Nickelodeon star. He struck a plea deal in 2004 that cut his 11-count indictment down to two, resulting in a 16-month jail sentence. That, however, didn’t stop Disney from hiring him to work on the children’s series “Yay, Me! Starring London Tipton” and “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody” only a year after his release.
Trump’s comments zero in on Disney’s hypocrisy too.
“Iger, where is my call of apology?” he doubled down on Thursday. “You and ABC have offended millions of people, and they demand a response. How is Brian Ross doing? He tanked the market with an ABC lie, yet no apology. Double Standard!”
Iger, where is my call of apology? You and ABC have offended millions of people, and they demand a response. How is Brian Ross doing? He tanked the market with an ABC lie, yet no apology. Double Standard!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2018
Ross said on air in December that Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was “prepared to testify that President Trump, as a candidate, Donald Trump, ordered him, directed him to make contact with the Russians which contradicts all that Donald Trump has said to this point.”
The stock market nosedived 350 points in minutes. It took ABC hours to walk back the statement—Flynn was asked to start talks with foreign governments, including the Russian, only after Trump was elected (not as a candidate), which is a standard practice.
But Ross wasn’t fired. He was only suspended for four weeks and removed from reporting on Trump.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders expounded on Trump’s comments during the Wednesday press briefing.
“He’s simply pointing out the bias. The President is pointing to the hypocrisy in the media,” she said.
The media say “the most horrible things about this President—and nobody addresses it,” she said, listing several examples.
“Where was Bob Iger’s apology to the White House staff for [ESPN journalist] Jemele Hill calling the President and anyone associated with him a white supremacist; to Christians around the world for Joy Behar calling Christianity a mental illness?
“Where was the apology for Kathy Griffin going on a profane rant against the President on ‘The View’ after a photo showed her holding President Trump’s decapitated head?
“And where was the apology from Bob Iger for ESPN hiring Keith Olbermann after his numerous expletive-laced tweets attacking the President as a Nazi, and even expanding Olbermann’s role after that attack against the President’s family?” Sanders said.
Hill said on Twitter in September that “Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.”
ESPN has distanced itself from Hill’s comments on Twitter, saying they “do not represent the position of ESPN.”
“We have addressed this with Jemele and she recognizes her actions were inappropriate,” the network said in a statement.
While criticizing Vice President Mike Pence, Behar suggested in February on ABC’s The View that Christians are mentally ill if they believe their prayers are being answered. “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus,” she said. “It’s another thing when Jesus talks back to you. That’s different. That’s called mental illness if I’m not correct. Hearing voices.”
She later said she was joking. “Comedians are in danger these days,” she said. She also apologized for the comment.
Griffin posed for a photo last May holding an imitation severed head depicting Trump. She has since apologized for the photo after sparking mass outrage. “It wasn’t funny. I get it. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my career. I will continue. I ask your forgiveness,” she said in an apology, adding that she went “too far.” Both Democrats and Republicans criticized the photos, which were posted by photographer Tyler Shields.
Olbermann posted many tweets filled with most expletive insults and slurs addressed to Trump, including a 17-word rant in August containing 13 expletives and slurs.
None of the examples listed by Sanders led to the people losing their jobs or, apparently, prompted Iger to call and apologize to Trump or Pence.
“This is a double standard that the President is speaking about. No one is defending [Barr’s] comments. They’re inappropriate, but that’s the point that he was making,” Sanders said.
Jarrett hasn’t escaped criticism herself. She’s been dubbed a “slum lord” for leading a company that was supposed to manage subsidized housing projects in Chicago, but left them in such drastic state of disrepair they were deemed uninhabitable. The apartments had been built with local, state, and federal subsidies, partly thanks to a push for tax credits and subsidies by Obama, when he was the state and then U.S. Senator, according to a 2008 Boston Globe investigation.
Several “prominent failures” of the subsidized housing “were developed and managed by Obama’s close friends and political supporters. Those people profited from the subsidies even as many of Obama’s constituents suffered. Tenants lost their homes; surrounding neighborhoods were blighted,” the extensive report states.
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