Fans of “Last Man Standing” were stunned last week when ABC announced the comedy series, which stars Tim Allen, would be canceled after six seasons.
Speculation over whether or not politics played a role in ABC’s decision to ax the show began to heat up after the May 10 announcement. After all, Allen is an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump, and has compared being a Republican in Hollywood to “’30s Germany.”
Among those who bought into the rumors was Debbie Odom Massey, who was the executive director of the Madison-Rivergate Chamber of Commerce in Madison, Tennessee. Massey blasted her “favorite” show’s cancelation in a May 11 Facebook post, calling the decision “discrimination” and a violation of free speech.
The post reportedly read as
“I can’t believe that I am supposed to be ok with shows like Grays Anatomy or Nashville or any other show that promotes LGBT blah blah blah..,WHATEVER! Cramming same sex making out into our Homes! But I can’t watch MY FAVORITE show! ‘Last Man Standing’! Talk about discrimination!!
ABC needs to listen to the majority ― not the 2% -Afraid of lawsuit? Maybe we should scream, riot, wine and create law suits against EVERYBODY that doesn’t make us feel good, then we can get our way!! ‘Last Man Standing’ also offered the counter viewpoint...it’s not like you didn’t hear the other side. It is obvious they wish to only present their views and only wish to INDOCTRINATE people. We live in a country of FREE speech, if we believe it we should practice it and not support those who suppress it!”
Though Massey appears to have deleted her post later that day, her words nonetheless sparked a firestorm of controversy. Among those to denounce the remarks was Metro Councilwoman Nancy VanReece, whose district includes Madison. VanReece told The Tennessean that she hoped Massey’s post would encourage her employers to establish a policy regarding what their employees post on social media if one was not already in place.
“I think that comments like that made by organizations that represent communities can have a detrimental effect,” she said, “and I certainly hope that this will be an opportunity for Madison to demonstrate that it is a welcoming diverse community that I am proud to represent.”
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry echoed those sentiments while touting the work of Massey’s colleague, David McMurry, in a May 12 interview with The Tennessean.
“David McMurry, past president of the Madison-Rivergate Chamber of Commerce, has been a great partner in helping to grow our economy and promote a more inclusive environment in Nashville,” she said. “The Facebook post referenced does not reflect the great work they are doing as an organization.”
On Monday, Massey announced that she was resigned from her position, Fox 17 News reported. Colleagues, including McMurry, did not deny the role that the Facebook controversy had played in Massey’s decision. “While the current situation is unfortunate,” he said, “we wish Debbie every happiness and success as we move forward into the Madison’s renaissance with new Chamber leadership.”
Meanwhile, the Madison-Rivergate Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors will reportedly review a new social media policy at their next meeting, according to Fox 17 News.
Meanwhile, ABC executives have denied that Allen’s conservative views factored into their decision to cancel “Last Man Standing.” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey told The Hollywood Reporter that the cancelation was part of a network-wide effort to move away from comedy on Friday evenings.
Still, some fans aren’t buying it: a Change.org petition accusing ABC of “shoving liberal ideals down the throats of the viewer” had over 245,000 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon. The petition’s creator says they “will no longer be watching any ABC shows” until “Last Man Standing” is renewed.
HuffPost has reached out to Massey for additional comment.
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