Roseanne (TV series)
Region: North America
Subject: Sexual/Gender Orientation
Artist: Roseanne Barr (Arnold) and Co.
Confronting Bodies: ABC Television
Dates of Action: March 1994
Description of Artwork: A scene in the episode Don't Ask, Don't Tell of Roseanne in which she visits a lesbian bar and receives a kiss on the lips from actress Mariel Hemingway.
The Incident: ABC threatened not to broadcast the episode as scheduled on March 1, 1994 claiming that "the scene is not the lifestyle that most people lead," (Stephen Weisswasser, ABC legal representative). According to Roseanne's husband and manager Tom Arnold, ABC also said the episode "violates the network's standards."
Results of Incident: Roseanne and Co. threatened to air the episode on another network, as she has hinted at moving the show to CBS. ABC aired the episode as originally planned, but included a viewer advisory before the episode . Ratings were high (averaging 28 - 33 million viewers) and complaints received by the network were fewer than expected (150 calls by noon the day following the airing). Positive calls outnumbered complaints by a 3-to-1 margin.
Source: Nightlines, Windy City Times, Chicago Sun-Times Feb.-March, 1994