Barack Obama

ABC Cancels ‘Roseanne' Reboot After Barr's Tweet About Obama Aide

Barr had suggested that former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett was a product of the Muslim Brotherhood and the "Planet of the Apes." She later apologized

What to Know

  • ABC canceled its hit "Roseanne" after the sitcom's star targeted former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett with a racist tweet
  • Before ABC's action, Barr tweeted to Jarrett that she was sorry "for making a bad joke"
  • ABC Entertainment's president called the insult "abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values." Cast members also slammed Barr

ABC canceled its hit reboot of “Roseanne” on Tuesday following star Roseanne Barr's racist tweet about former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett.

"Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show," ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey said in a statement Tuesday. 

Barr had apologized hours earlier for suggesting that Jarrett was a product of the Muslim Brotherhood and the "Planet of the Apes."

Barr tweeted to Jarrett that she was sorry "for making a bad joke" about her politics and her looks. Jarrett, who is African-American, advised Barack and Michelle Obama.

[NATL] Take a Look Inside Obama Family's Washington, DC, Home

Barr's now-deleted tweet read: "muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj."

It was part of a busy period on Twitter for Barr, who wrote tweets or retweeted attacks on Michael Moore, Chelsea Clinton and George Soros.

Jarrett, who appeared at the taping of an MSNBC town hall on "Everyday Racism in America" Tuesday, said she hoped the incident could be turned into a teaching moment.

"I'm fine," she said. "I'm worried about the people out there who don't have a circle of friends and followers who come right to their defense."

In her apology, Barr said the Jarret comment was "in bad taste."

"I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans," she wrote. "I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks. I should have known better." 

Moments earlier she tweeted that she was "leaving Twitter."

But she continued tweeting, saying that she wanted to "apologize 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 then retweeted supporters' statements attacking ABC's hiring of Keith Olbermann, who has harshly criticized President Donald Trump, and a meme that placed Jarrett's photo side-by-side with a "Planet of the Apes" actor.

Later, she released a new statement: "I deeply regret my comments from late last night on Twitter. Above all, I want to apologize to Valerie Jarrett, as well as to ABC and the cast and crew of the Roseanne show. I am sorry for making a thoughtless joke that does not reflect my values - I love all people and am very sorry. Today my words caused hundreds of hardworking people to lose their jobs. I also sincerely apologize to the audience that has embraced my work for decades. I apologize from the bottom of my heart and hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me."

Her tweeting and retweeting continued into the night. She asked her followers not to defend her and said she had been tweeting on Ambien.

Disney chairman and CEO Robert Iger said canceling the show was an easy decision. Iger tweeted the network's response to Barr's "abhorrent" remarks, adding: "There was only one thing to do here and that was the right thing."

Barr's agency also announced it was cutting ties with the actress Tuesday afternoon. ICM Partners called Barr's tweet "disgraceful," "unacceptable" and "antithetical to our core values."

The company said it has ended its relationship with Barr "effective immediately."

Jarrett currently serves on the board of Ariel Capital Management Holdings and is a senior adviser to the Obama Foundation. The fact-checking site Snopes has in the past debunked past false claims about her heritage and a so-called Muslim agenda.

Barr starred in ABC's reboot of "Roseanne," which debuted with an estimated 18.4 million tuning in more than two decades after the original ended its hit run. Her character is a supporter of Trump, as the actress is in real life.

The president called the actress to congratulate her on blockbuster ratings following the show's return to television.

The revival of the comedy was a surprise smash for ABC and was counted on to lead the network's fortunes next season. ABC expected advertisers to pay millions of dollars for the chance to be seen during commercial breaks on television's most popular comedy after "The Big Bang Theory."

Barr previously said she hoped that her show helps "open up civil conversation between people" in today's polarizing political climate.

She has also drawn attention recently for amplifying on her Twitter account other far right conspiracy theories.

Greece is still grappling with the fallout of the 2008 debt crisis and a continual flow of migrants arriving on its shores, which have left an already-stressed welfare system struggling to cope, NBC News reports. Meanwhile, one migrant opted to return to his war-torn homeland after facing extreme hardship in Greece. “My family will sell some gold so I can go again,” said Khasim. “They say I must go again.” Liza Schuster, an expert on return migrations to Afghanistan at City, University of London, said families often will have made a significant financial sacrifice to send someone to Europe and can be angry if they later show up on the doorstep. “You can find two, three, four, five, very angry brothers saying, 'We’ve put all of this together to save you and now not only are you not safe ... but we’ve got no future, we have nothing,'” she said.

Before ABC's announcement, comic Wanda Sykes, who is a consulting producer on "Roseanne," tweeted Tuesday that she would not be returning to the show.

Cast member Sara Gilbert said on Twitter that Barr'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."'

Another actress on the show, Emma Kenney, tweeted that she found out about the show's cancellation as she was calling her manager to quit "Roseanne." She added that "bullies do not win." Kenney posted another tweet saying she was "hurt, embarrassed, and disappointed."

The NAACP applauded ABC's actions on Tuesday.

"Roseanne Barr's comments were appalling and reminiscent of horrific time in our history when racism was not only acceptable but promoted by Hollywood," said Derrick Johnson, NAACP president and CEO. "We applaud ABC for taking a stand against racism by canceling 'Roseanne.' We commend the network and ... Dungey for placing the values of diversity, inclusion and respect for humanity above ratings."

Barr got what she deserved, said Shonda Rhimes, creator of hit ABC shows like "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal."

"As I tell my 4-year-old, one makes a choice with one's actions," Rhimes tweeted. "Roseanne made a choice. A racist one. ABC made a choice. A human one."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us