Drama! ‘Black-Ish’ Creator Kenya Barris Finally Reveals What Went Down When ABC Pulled His Kaepernick Episode

<<enter caption here>> on June 22, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California.

Drama! ‘Black-Ish’ Creator Kenya Barris Finally Reveals What Went Down When ABC Pulled His Kaepernick Episode

He also explains how Roseanne almost aided in his decision to ditch the network.

Published September 13, 2018

With a significant frame of time passing since ABC's executive decision to pull an episode of the hit series Black-ish, which focused on the #TakeAKnee movement, the show's creator, Kenya Barris, is finally speaking out.

While doing so, he addressed the network's bold call, his exit from ABC and candidly shared how he truly feels about his fromer ABC peer Roseanne Barr.

In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Barris explained that ABC's decision to pull the Colin Kaepernick-inspired episode, titled "Please, Baby, Please," prompted his departure from the network.

"I don't know that I would have been as useful to them as they'd need me to be after that," he said.

The episode was set to spark some much-needed social commentary on the state of America. Coming in at a $3 million budget, it included animations, a voice over from Spike Lee, and news footage of Donald Trump, the Charlottesville attacks and the NFL kneeling protests. The day prior to its scheduled airing, ABC pulled the plug.

While there was clear creative differences between him and the network's executives, Barris maintains that he still has love for ABC's president, Channing Dungey, and respects how ABC Studios chief Patrick Moran handled the last-minute ordeal.

"I know there was some concern about partisanship... and the way the episode was angled and the balance in terms of some of the stories," he continued. "On network TV, one of the things I've learned is that you have to talk about things from both sides. The boss doesn't have to explain himself, but he explained enough — and he [did so] in a way that really gave light in a different way. And more than that, he spoke to me as a person."

Now that Barris has fully stepped away from his role at ABC, he has nabbed a staggering eight-figure deal with Netflix, which is allowing him the freedom that he is heavily anticipating to practice.

"If I was going to step out, I wanted to do something where I could take off all the straps and really hang out of the plane," he said. "I want to be Netflix with attitude — loud, bold and unapologetic."

Elaborating on his ABC departure from another angle, Barris stressed that he would have left the network on his own accord, anyway, had they not immediately canceled Rosanne Barr's eponymous sitcom following her racist Twitter outburst.

"Because f**k Roseanne," he said. "She's a f****n' monster. And they were like, 'Why is this monster killing villagers?' And I was like, 'Because that's what a monster does.'"

Read Barris' full THR article, here.

Written by Moriba Cummings

(Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Culture Creators)


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