ABC has canceled the newly revamped sitcom, Roseanne, after star Roseanne Barr tweeted a racist comment on Tuesday morning about former Obama aide, Valerie Jarrett.
The 65-year-old actress came under fire when she posted a tweet that referred to Jarett as looking like the offspring of the “Muslim Brotherhood & planet of the apes.” She deleted the tweet shortly after posting it, but the damage was done.
Amidst public backlash, responses poured in from celebrities who condemned Barr’s comment, including her Roseanne co-star and executive producer, Sarah Gilbert.
“Roseanne’s recent comments about Valerie Jarett, and so much more, are abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our cast and crew or anyone associated with our show,” Gilbert wrote. “I am disappointed in her actions to say the least. This is incredibly sad and difficult for all of us, as we’ve created a show that we believe in, are proud of, and that audiences love – one that is separate and apart from the opinions and words of one cast member.”
Wanda Sykes, who was a consulting producer on Roseanne, immediately announced via Twitter she would no longer be working on the show following the racist tweet. Roseanne’s onscreen son, Michael Fishman, also released a statement on Twitter in which he called her words “reprehensible and intolerable.”
ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey, who is the first African-American to serve as programming chief for one of the major broadcast networks, said Barr’s comment was “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values.”
Roseanne has also been dumped by her talent agency, ICM Partners, who wrote in a statement that they were “greatly distressed by the disgraceful and unacceptable” tweet.
In the aftermath of the cancellation, Roseanne took to Twitter to apologize for her actions, writing, “I apologize to Valerie Jarett 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.”
In response to the tweet, Jarett told MSNBC that the situation should be regarded as a “teaching moment.”
“I’m fine. I’m worried about all the people out there who don’t have a circle of friends and followers who come right to their defense,” Jarett said. “The person who is walking down the street minding their own business and they see somebody cling to their purse, or run across the street, or every black parent I know who has a boy who has to sit down and have a conversation – the talk – as we call it. As you say, those ordinary examples of racism that happen every single day.”
Despite announcing she would be leaving the social media site, Roseanne later returned to Twitter to blame her actions on the sleep aid, Ambien.
“It was 2 in the morning and I was Ambien tweeting – it was memorial day too – I went 2 far & do not want it defended – it was egregious Indefensible,” the star wrote on the social media site. “I made a mistake I wish I hadn’t but… don’t defend it please.” ~Caitlyn Clancey