Lordy doo, what a week. Roseanne Barr overdosed on stupidity, One Nation split in two and one man filled a bathtub with spuds, because drugs.
Hello and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. We’ve seen the swift death of a popular reboot, a death hoax in the Ukraine, a potential unholy alliance back home and a mysterious sack of potatoes.
The much talked about Roseanne reboot is no-more. Rather than its cancellation being because of poor ratings or reception like many other reboots, this cancellation was prompted by a tweet from Roseanne Barr herself.
The tweet concerned saw Barr compare former adviser to President Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, to an ape; the tweet also suggested that Jarrett was the love child of the “Muslim Brotherhood” and “Planet of the Apes”.
In addition to the US ABC Network immediately cancelling the show, Hollywood talent agency ICM released a statement indicating they would no longer represent the comedian. Various cable networks and affiliates have also pulled all reruns of the show.
If Roseanne expected support from her castmates, she was severely mistaken. Michael Fishman, who played Roseanne’s TV son, DJ, took to social media to condemn her statements “vehemently”. Emma Kenney, the actress who played Barr’s granddaughter in the reboot, had a similar take, tweeting “I am hurt, embarrassed and disappointed. The racist and distasteful comments from Roseanne are inexcusable.” Sara Gilbert who played Barr’s daughter Darlene described the comments as “abhorrent” before making it clear that the “words of one cast member” aren’t reflective of the opinion of the rest of the cast and crew.
Also on The Big Smoke
- While you were asleep: Roseanne pitches racism drug, NK to welcome fast food, new Fallout game teaser drops
- Lessons of the very public (Twitter) trial of Roseanne Barr
- While you were asleep: Roseanne kicked off TV, Barnaby takes his leave, “active shooter” video game brings criticism
Barr deleted the initial tweet and initially appeared to apologise for the fallout. However she now appears interested in fighting the axing. She’s also retweeted a conspiracy theory that suggests Michelle Obama was directly behind the cancellation after also blaming her Twitter escapades on Ambien.
She then dragged Whoopi Goldberg into the shit-show, retweeting an image of Goldberg wearing an offensive T-shirt that depicts US President Donald Trump being shot in the head. The photo turned out to be photoshopped but an apology from Barr to Goldberg hasn’t been forthcoming yet.
US President Donald Trump chimed in, after previously using the success of the Roseanne reboot as evidence that he had a large supporter base, this time taking a shot at Disney CEO Bob Iger who called Valerie Jarrett to apologise on behalf of the network. Trump took to Twitter to complain that he never received an apology after Iger made “horrible” statements about him on ABC.
I am hurt, embarrassed, and disappointed. The racist and distasteful comments from Roseanne are inexcusable.
— Emma Kenney (@EmmaRoseKenney) May 29, 2018
A prominent Russian journalist, Arkady Babchenko, was shot dead earlier in the week in his home in the Ukrainian city of Kiev. Babchenko’s public criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin was immediately suggested as a motive for his murder with police suggesting that they believe the murder was linked to his work.
Or so we thought.
A day or so later, Babchenko was unveiled at a press conference in Kiev looking very much alive. He was introduced by the head of Ukraine’s security service, Vasyl Grytsak, who told the waiting media that his death had been staged in order to prevent an expected attempt on his life.
Grytsak also announced that the alleged mastermind of the plot to kill Babchenko had been arrested. He indicated that the man in question was a Ukrainian citizen who offered to pay a hitman $40,000 after being recruited by Russian special forces.
Babchenko then spoke to the room, apologising to his friends and family including his wife, who weren’t aware of the plan and were mourning his death.
Russia immediately condemned the move, with the Russian foreign ministry saying “now the true motives are beginning to be revealed for this staging, which is totally obviously yet another anti-Russian provocation.”
They weren’t alone. Paris-based media watchdog, Reporters without Borders, quickly condemned the move with the head of the organisation, Christophe Deloire, saying “It is pathetic and regrettable that the Ukrainian police have played with the truth, whatever their motive…for the stunt.”
A former colleague of Babchenko, Russian investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov, was also critical, saying “To me, it’s crossing a line big time. Babchenko is a journalist, not a policeman, for Christ sake, and part of our job is trust, whatever Trump and Putin say about fake news.”
Good idea or not, I’m sure most are pleased that Babchenko is still alive and kicking.
Another civil war appears to be brewing in the One Nation camp with Senator Brian Burston breaking ranks and voting in support of the Turnbull government’s proposed company tax changes that party leader, Pauline Hanson, has been vocally against.
Indications of a stoush started last week when Hanson dumped Burston as the party whip. Despite this, Burston has indicated he has no intention of quitting the party. Hanson has spoken out publicly, indicating that Burston had backflipped on his previous promise to her to back her stance.
Hanson also appeared on The Bolt Report on Sky News where she indicated that Senator Burston “stabbed me in the back”. Hanson indicated during the interview that Burston was just having a “dummy spit” over the decision not to guarantee him top spot on the NSW Senate ticket at the next election. She went on to accuse Burston of attempting to join the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party, which he has unequivocally denied.
Hanson became emotional and apologised to voters “that this has happened again” with tears in her eyes. But it wouldn’t be a Pauline Hanson story without a delicious twist…
Following the fallout, a rumour has surfaced that Hanson may be trying to court former Labor leader Mark Latham into the fold for a senate seat. If the rumor is true, it would place two of the most divisive politicians in Australian history together.
Whilst having Hanson and Latham side by side has the potential to be one of the signs of the apocalypse, by God it would be entertaining. Before it became terrifying, of course…
Also on The Big Smoke
- #AusPol winners and losers: Who split One Nation in two?
- While you were asleep: Denmark bans the Burqa, Pauline breaks down live, fat sausage dog forked
There has been good news for workers this week with the Fair Work Commission announcing that they are increasing the national minimum wage by 3.5% to $719.20 per week.
The change pushes the minimum hourly rate up to $18.93 from the 1st of July this year and results in an extra $24.80 for a 38 hour work week. The Australian Council of Trade Unions had been pushing for a $50 per week increase however Fair Work ruled it out, arguing such an increase could reduce employment opportunities for those on minimum wage.
Fair Work president, Iain Ross said, “Such adverse effects will impact on those groups who are already marginalised in the labour market and on households vulnerable to poverty due to loss of employment or hours.”
Whilst the increase is sure to be welcomed, the ACTU aren’t the only ones arguing that it wasn’t enough of an increase. Greens workplace relations spokesman Adam Bandt indicated that many full-time workers would still be living in poverty despite the increase, also saying, “until we enshrine in law a minimum wage above poverty level, inequality will continue to grow in Australia.”
The Australian Retailers Association executive director, Russell Zimmerman, criticised the increase for being too high, suggesting that it isn’t sustainable. Zimmerman warned that the increase would force retailers to either reduce hours or staff numbers to survive.
Wacky and wonderful
Drugs are bad, m’kay? Whilst Hollywood (and social media) have glamorised drug binges at times, it’s rare that a five day binge will turn you into Hunter S Thompson. More often than not, it will result in being found by police wearing a woman’s bra and carrying a sack of potatoes to your hotel room to fill the bath. Well, if your name is James Johnson, of course.
Johnson was apprehended by police while in the middle of transporting the large sack of potatoes back to his hotel. Upon further investigation, police found a variety of drugs in his hotel room including Ecstacy, 5-MAPB and a psychedelic substance by the name of 2CB.
Appearing in court, the judge asked the question that’s now on all of our lips: “Why were you filling the tub with potatoes?”
Johnson replied, “It felt like the right thing to do at the time.”
Part of me wishes they let him continue to see what happened.
That’s it from me TBSers, have a cracking week!