Racist Roseanne blames meds, but TV isn't having a Barr of it
Networks drop sitcom like a hot potato after she compared black ex-Obama adviser to an ape
Roseanne Barr returned to Twitter on Tuesday night to apologise to colleagues who lost their jobs following her “racist” tweet and appeared to blame the outburst on the effects of sleep medication.
The American TV network ABC cancelled Barr's recently revived show, Roseanne, after she posted a tweet comparing a black former Barack Obama adviser to an ape.Other networks cancelled reruns and Barr was quickly dropped by her agents.
Barr, 65, later deleted the message before saying she would be quitting Twitter, only to reappear hours later, writing: “Don't feel sorry for me, guys!! I just want to apologise to the hundreds of people,and wonderful writers (all liberal) and talented actors who lost their jobs on my show due to my stupid tweet.”
She also called on her supporters not to defend her actions, which she suggested were the result of Ambien, a sedative used to aid sleep, at the end of a holiday weekend.Her downfall was triggered when she tweeted a message describing Valerie Jarrett as a product of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Planet of the Apes, the latest in a string of politically explosive comments.
Jarrett herself responded to the comments on Tuesday evening. Speaking on MSNBC, she said: “I’m fine. I’m worried about the people out there who don’t have a circle of friends and followers who come right to their defence.”
She hoped it could be used as a “teaching moment”.
As well as the cancellation of her show, Barr was rapidly dropped by her agents, ICM Partners.
“We are all greatly distressed by the disgraceful and unacceptable tweet from Roseanne Barr this morning,” its management said in a memo to staff obtained by Deadline Hollywood.
“What she wrote is antithetical to our core values, both as individuals and as an agency.”
Elsewhere, stars lined up to attack Barr.
Writing on Twitter, Minnie Driver, who stars in ABC’s Speechless, wrote: “So proud of @ABCNetwork for having the ethical compunction to cancel #Rosanne despite the show’s huge numbers. We too make a show about a middle class family, come and watch us instead #speechless @Speechless-ABC.”Sara Gilbert, who starred alongside Barr in Roseanne, labelled her comments “abhorrent”. She said: “Roseanne's recent comments about Valerie Jarrett, and so much more, are abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our cast and crew or anyone associated with our show. I am disappointed in her actions to say the least.”
Film director Ava DuVernay posted a photo of ABC head Channing Dungey, who is African American, with the words: “For the record, this is Channing Dungey. Sitting on top of your world like a Queen in full judgement of your garbage and taking it out. #Roseanne.”Singer Cher also criticised Barr’s comments.
Barr has been a vocal backer of US President Donald Trump and also plays one of his supporters in Roseanne. The affection was returned by Trump, who telephoned the star to congratulate her on the new series and made reference to its ratings in a speech.
So far, however, the White House has declined to comment.
“That’s not what the president’s looking at,” said spokesperson Sarah Sanders. “We have a lot bigger things going on in the country right now.”
Bitter tweet fallout
The return of the sitcom was watched by an estimated 18.4-million viewers in the US. Its original run came to an end in May 1997. But for years Barr’s outspoken Twitter commentary, filled with conspiracy theories and fringe ideas, have provoked controversies.
And Tuesday’s tweet prompted a swift response.
The fallout included the lucrative syndication market as Viacom said it would pull reruns of the 1990s episodes from its Paramount, TV Land and CMT cable networks. Another cable network, Laff, also said it was removing reruns of the show.
Hulu said the new Roseanne show would no longer be available on its streaming service.
– © The Daily Telegraph