Roseanne Barr, formerly the star of the hit TV sitcom Roseanne (1988-1997), now runs a macadamia nut farm in Hawai’i. However, she hasn’t lost her wit or her bite, particularly when it comes to sexism. She has an amazing article in this month’s New York magazine (May 15 2011) where she rips off the lid about how she was treated by producers Marcey Carsey and Tom Werner.
It didn’t take long for me to get a taste of the staggering sexism and class bigotry that would make the first season of Roseanne god-awful. It was at the premiere party when I learned that my stories and ideas—and the ideas of my sister and my first husband, Bill—had been stolen. The pilot was screened, and I saw the opening credits for the first time, which included this: CREATED BY MATT WILLIAMS. I was devastated and felt so betrayed that I stood up and left the party. Not one person noticed.
As Roseanne fought for creative control of her show, and for ownership over the character she had created, she was bullied, undermined and derided as a crazy person by everyone except her fellow cast members. This included numerous women on the set and on the production team who watched while men insulted her. Barr describes one confrontation where she threatened the writers with a pair of shears in their own office, a place where she “rarely went…since it was disgusting.” (Go here for Tina Fey’s revelation in the March 14 New Yorker that male writers on Saturday Night Live piss in cups rather than leave their offices to walk down the hall to the bathroom.) She also tried not to go to the writer’s room because it too was a sea of sexism. Invariably, as soon as she entered the room,
one of the writers would crack a stinky-pussy joke that would make me want to murder them. Male writers have zero interest in being nice to women, including their own assistants, few of whom are ever promoted to the rank of “writer,” even though they do all the work while the guys sit on their asses taking the credit.
When the show hit number one in the ratings, instead of sending her the car that male stars receive, ABC sent her a humongous chocolate bar. Read the whole article here.