In an appearance Tuesday night on MSNBC, Valerie Jarrett, an advisor during all eight years of the Obama administration, revealed that Disney CEO Robert Iger phoned her personally to say he was cancelling the politicized reboot of Roseanne, after the show’s lead, Roseanne Barr, posted racist remarks on her Twitter account (maybe while on Ambien) about Jarrett hours earlier.
“He apologized,” Jarrett said. “He said that he had zero tolerance for that sort of racist, bigoted comment, and he wanted me to know before he made it public that he was canceling the show, and so I appreciate that they did that so swiftly.”
Iger could have sent Jarrett a text message and conveyed the information just as easily, or even tweeted his apology to her for the world to see, but the emotional impact of a phone call is more meaningful, say psychologists.
“Most intimate to least intimate communication ranks like this: 1) Face-to-face conversation, 2) FaceTime, 3) Written letter, 4) Email, 5) Instant message or text,” Laura L. Ryan, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Certified Imago Therapist in Austin, Texas told the website Bustle in 2016.
Hard as it might have been, Barr’s apology to Jarrett (and “to all Americans,” because why not?) might have been more effective had she called Jarrett or met her in person, instead of doing it on Twitter.
However, nothing beats face-to-face conversations, a 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found. If Iger, whose Disney owns the ABC TV network, had been in the same city as Jarrett, he could have had maximum impact by giving her the supportive news in person.
“We found that all forms of socialization aren’t equal. Phone calls and digital communication, with friends or family members, do not have the same power as face-to-face social interactions in helping to stave off depression,” said Alan Teo, M.D., M.S., lead author of that study.
Barr’s original tweet, since deleted, is seen below:
While texting someone important information, like an apology — or worse publicly tweeting an apology to them — is easier on the ego, apologies (whether from someone in the position of Barr or Iger) carry more weight when the words are exchanged in real life.
The internet is full of advice on how to address the “when to call/when to text” question as it pertains to romance, but the same rules apply to everything else, as the Roseanne Barr-Valerie Jarrett-Bob Iger apology triangle showed this week.
Watch the full MSNBC segment below: