Opinion

'Privileged Fat Skinhead': What I Learned When Roseanne Fat-shamed Me on Twitter

When you fat-shamed me, I realized that a great darkness dwells in you. I don’t know what releases it — Twitter, Ambien, maybe both. But it’s all yours

actress Roseanne Barr on January 8, 2018.
VALERIE MACON/AFP

Hi Roseanne, it’s me — the guy you called a “privileged fat skinhead” on Twitter two and a half years ago, adding that I should “stfu.” It was your response to an op-ed of mine, published in Haaretz and shared on Twitter, in which I called on the Jews of France not to immigrate to Israel because Jewish fascism is rife here. Many Israeli and American Jews were enthusiastic about your choice of words as you explained to me why you are a Jewish patriot and I am not.

A tweet where Roseanne Barr responded to Rogel Alper's tweet calling him derogatory names.

I didn’t stand a chance against you on your home court, Twitter. You and your followers didn’t even care that my weight is unrelated to my arguments regarding the rise of Jewish fascism in Israel. Or that fat-shaming is an ugly act, since it expresses blatant discrimination against a person because of a physical trait — just like your repulsive racism toward Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to then-President Barack Obama, in a tweet that led ABC to cancel the reboot of your show, “Roseanne.”

Neither you nor your followers cared that, instead of confronting me in a professional manner, you pathetically avoided addressing the topic of my tweet, seeking only to humiliate me. Your only aim was to humiliate and disgrace me as much as possible before your millions of followers, and solely because you disagreed with my opinions. In a single moment, I lost all my professional respect for you. When I expressed doubt as to whether you were the real Roseanne, you made it clear that you were “as th heart attack ur fat ass is due anytime now.”

I’m no Pollyanna. And one could say that I hold public, businesslike confrontations on subjects that are important to me in my profession. But I was so disgusted with your desire to humiliate that I really did boycott the comeback season of your series. I couldn’t stand to see your face. I have no doubt that many viewers and advertisers would have boycotted its next season, due to their disgust with your worldview as it was reflected in your tweets. And therefor, in my opinion ABC made the right decision for both moral and commercial reasons. The network is very aware that the tweet against Jarret was not some one-time slip.

It’s important to stress that in the Twittersphere of ultranationalist Jews in Israel and the United States, you were rewarded for your mocking fat-shaming of me. Almost nobody wondered about the connection between my weight or my ass and the opinion piece that I published. You certainly could have gotten the impression that you’re all right, that you are permitted to act the way you do. I watched in amazement how you were applauded.

When you visited Israel you were received with great love. Recently you were the guest of honor at the Jerusalem Post conference. The great patriotic star who supports Israel from her home in Hawaii. Because I’m a man, and white, and a powerful, respected journalist. And you’re allowed to say anything about white men without being suspected of benighted opinions. I realized already then that a great darkness dwells in you. I don’t know what releases it — Twitter, Ambien, maybe both. But it’s all yours.