Roseanne Apologizes, but Loses Show Over Racist Tweet

Barr made 'Planet of the Apes' reference to Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2018 10:35 AM CDT
Updated May 29, 2018 1:05 PM CDT
Roseanne Barr Apologizes Twice for Racial Joke
In this March 23, 2018, file photo, Roseanne Barr arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Roseanne" in Burbank, Calif.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

A racist joke on Twitter has cost Roseanne Barr her show. ABC on Tuesday canceled the reboot of Roseanne amid a storm of criticism directed at its star, reports CNN. The move came after Barr apologized not once but twice on Tuesday for a jarring insult directed at former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. In a since-deleted tweet, Barr wrote, "muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj." As the post began getting traction Tuesday, Barr took to Twitter again. "I apologize. I am now leaving Twitter," she wrote. And then came a lengthier mea culpa: "I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans. I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks. I should have known better. Forgive me-my joke was in bad taste." Related coverage:

  • ABC: "Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show," says the network's statement, per USA Today.
  • Jarrett: Now a senior fellow at the University of Chicago Law School, she declined to comment through a spokesperson, reports Politico. Jarrett is black, and she was born in Iran to American parents.
  • Sykes bailed: Before ABC's move, African-American comedian Wanda Sykes, credited as a consulting producer on Roseanne, tweeted that she would not be returning to the show, reports Entertainment Weekly.
  • Sara Gilbert: The Roseanne star, who was instrumental in the show's reboot, also distanced herself early. The comments "are abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our cast and crew or anyone associated with our show," she tweeted. "I am disappointed in her actions to say the least."

  • Background: The original Barr tweet about Jarrett came in response to someone else's tweet accusing Jarrett of helping to "hide" actions of the Obama administration, reports the Hill. The Wrap adds more context, noting that Jarrett has long been a favorite target of right-wing blogs. While she was in the White House, rumors swirled on the right that Jarrett had vowed to make America a "more Islamic country," and Snopes once debunked them.
  • Criticism: "Hey @ABC, Roseanne Barr compared Valerie Jarrett to an ape," tweeted MSNBC's Joe Scarborough. "There is no apology she can make that justifies @ABC turning a blind eye to this bigotry by airing another second of her show." And actress Patricia Arquette wrote, "I am repulsed that Valerie Jarret had that racist and bigoted 'joke' made at her expense and I am sickened that any Black or Muslim person has to keep hearing this sickness in 2018." Barr "is a perfect avatar for this moment in our history. She’s white, she’s loud, she’s mean," writes Rex Huppke at the Chicago Tribune.
  • Apology to Chelsea: For the record, Barr had to apologize a third time on Tuesday, this time to Chelsea Clinton for falsely stating (on Twitter) that Clinton was married to a nephew of George Soros, reports Fox News. That did not stop Barr, however, from going on to call Soros "a nazi."
(More Roseanne Barr stories.)

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