Something I’ve always found interesting online is trending topics in Twitter. If you think about it, something trending means that a big majority of Twitter users are talking about and paying attention to one singular topic. If this topic is a television show or a sporting event or something else with some sort of entertainment value, as the creator, you’re probably thrilled that so many people are talking about it. Even if it may be in a bad way.
Last night and in to this morning, one of the trending topics on Twitter was #BoycottABC. When I saw this, I had to admit I was very curious. I had some ideas as to why thousands of people had been tweeting that but I had to read through them to make sure. As it turns out, there was more than one reason that people were calling out for others to ‘boycott ABC’ and they were kind of contradictory.
The first few tweets under this topic talked about the ABC show The Conners. As you may know, this show is a spinoff of Roseanne that was canceled last year because of racist remarks made by the creator and star of the show, Roseanne Barr. Though the show is in it’s second season now and clearly has a following of people that are watching night after night, some people are obviously still upset by Barr’s firing and therefore are still calling for a boycott of the show and the network itself.
As I kept scrolling however, the tweets changed and suddenly. Now they were calling for an ABC boycott over the casting of former Press Secretary Sean Spicer for Dancing With The Stars. Many people were tweeting this because they were upset with the network and show for ‘normalizing’ the maligned former Trump staffer. They argued that there was no place for him on the show and even the show’s host made his reluctance to have the man on the show known.
But where does this leave the network? Though enough people are calling for a boycott that the tag is trending in the US, clearly ABC is still getting the ratings they need to keep both shows on. In reality, the network knows that they’re doing. People being angry about these things aren’t coming to them as a shock. This is the second season of The Conners is on so they’ve known about the issues people have with it. And there is no chance that they didn’t expect backlash for casting Sean Spicer for DWTS given his relationship with the American people in the past.
Why did they do it then? Why do they still continue to air things that are pissing people off on both sides of the political aisle? Because controversy sells. There may be a couple thousand people tweeting and calling for boycotts on Twitter but there are millions at home still watching these programs. In reality, the thought of the network angering many people is probably causing even more people than usual watch these shows.
So you can tweet #BoycottABC all you want but at the end of the say, the network is still being successful. They are of course owned by one of the most powerful media companies in the world. And they didn’t get where they are without making calculated decisions.
~Mary Evers (@For_Evers_Young)