With the recent publishing of racist remarks on her personal Twitter account, Roseanne Barr has become a worldwide trending topic, and the cancellation of her ABC show showcases the seriousness of the issue. This situation also reveals the balance that entertainment networks and studios need to find in controlling their own environment, and the creatives they partner with. With the news shifting from hateful speech to her show being cancelled within half a day, ABC was swift to take action. But other brands have taken heat for the same type of action and response.
Jesse Nicely, the Director of Creative Strategy at Cashmere Agency, wrote a piece in The Drum, discussing this issue of brand safety in the entertainment industry. The op-ed focused on the outcome of brands/networks/studios/tech companies stepping in and taking action. “How much risk is your brand willing to tolerate in being associated with talent that could easily veer into controversial territory?” writes Nicely. “Especially when it’s been historically shown that just the right amount of controversy can be good for business.”
We are now living in a time when anything and everything will surface on social media, and the actions taken by individuals and companies will be scrutinized more than ever. The coming months and years will show which direction the industry ends up moving in, whether favoring the free speech and actions of the people, or the governing capabilities of brands to keep them in check.