Within hours of posting a tweet that was widely seen as racist, Roseanne Barr was fired by ABC, and her show was canceled. Channing Dungey is president of ABC and therefore is the woman who made the decision about Roseanne and her show. Hers isn’t exactly a household name, but as news of this bold decision spreads in the next few days, that may change. Most people don’t know much about this woman because she has generally been relatively unknown to the public at large, but we do know a few things.
Dungey first stepped from relative obscurity from the viewpoint of the general public into widespread recognition with one tweet Tuesday afternoon.
In that tweet, Dungey said, “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”
In fewer than 20 words, Channing stepped into the spotlight and left many wondering who she was. Many had long believed Barr to be racist and were not surprised by the tweet that prompted Tuesday’s frenzy. Some noted that the fact that a black woman was the person who ultimately called the comedienne out for what they perceived as racism was worth notice and a sort of poetic justice.
Roseanne Barr's tweet about Valerie Jarrett prompted a firestorm of criticism, including from one of the show's stars, Sara Gilbert, who called it "abhorrent." https://t.co/NjFE6HV1ng pic.twitter.com/mDEpwQ2alC— ABC News (@ABC) May 29, 2018
Channing Dungey has been employed by ABC since 2004 according to The Cut. She has served as president of the network since 2016. She has worked with many who have found success at ABC, including Shonda Rhimes. Dungey’s resume includes work on How to Get Away With Murder, Scandal, and Criminal Minds as well as movies like Devil’s Advocate, The Matrix, and Steel Magnolias. Following Dungey’s statement about canceling Roseanne’s show, Rhimes tweeted her support, calling it “human.”
Dungey has defended Roseanne Barr in the past, saying that her statements were misunderstood. She expressed that there was an effort to juxtapose the political views of the Roseanne character with the Jackie character in the show. She said that she believed it reflected many dinner table conversations across the country.
Channing Dungey is no stranger to difficult firings. In fact, she once fired her own sister, Merrin Dungey, from another ABC hit, Private Practice. It was seen by many as a sign that she had the toughness to do whatever was necessary to make the network a success. Even her sister praised her for making the difficult decision and then following through with it.