Roseanne Barr's firing raises questions over freedom of speech and acceptable use of social media

- ABC's decision to cancel its reboot of Roseanne after Roseanne Barr's racist tweet as raised the question on what things are acceptable to post on social media without getting into trouble with employers.

In a since-deleted tweet, Barr referred to former President Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett as "product of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Planet of the Apes". While Barr apologized and called it a "bad joke", the damage was already done. Besides the show's cancellation, Barr was also dumped by her talent agency.

Some have questioned Barr's firing, saying she is protected by the First Amendment to say whatever she wants. Valley attorney Monica Lindstrom says while Barr has a right to say whatever she wants, she also has the responsibility to deal with the consequences of the things she says, and ABC also has the right to fire her.

"The amendments really have to do with governments. So let's say if you worked for the government and then you said something that the government didn't like and then they turned around and fired you, well maybe you'd have an argument against them," said Lindstrom. "But ABC had a legitimate reason for Roseanne Barr in its mind, because she said something very negative that would impact its business."

Lindstrom says the only way Barr would be protected is if it were specifically written into her contract.  

"Roseanne's relationship with ABC is really dictated by the contract between the two of them," said Lindstrom. "So, if somewhere in the contract it said that she has the freedom to tweet and they can't punish her for it, then maybe she has a cause of action or a recourse against them."

Lindstrom says many of these same rules apply for non-celebrities. She says a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself: if you would say that in front of your employer? If the answer is no, you shouldn't tweet it.

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