ABC TV network has cancelled comedian Roseanne Barr’s sitcom after she posted a racist tweet likening an African-American former Obama aide to an ape. ABC said: “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values and we have decided to cancel her show.” Barr’s tweet said Valerie Jarrett was the child of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Planet of the Apes film. The reboot of her hit sitcom Roseanne has been a ratings winner.
Barr deleted Monday night’s post and said she was leaving Twitter, but later posted a flurry of tweets including one that said she made the comment after taking a sedative. “I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans,” Barr wrote following the outcry, defending her remarks as a “joke”. “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.”
Barr’s initial tweet came in response to another Twitter user, who accused Jarrett of helping to conceal purported spying during the Obama administration. Jarrett was a senior adviser to former US President Barack Obama, and worked with him during his early days in Chicago politics. She was born in Iran to African-American parents. MJarrett was not the only target of Barr’s Twitter tirade in recent days.
On Monday, the 65-year-old entertainer claimed Chelsea Clinton daughter of former US President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton was married to a relative of billionaire investor George Soros in a tweet. Barr tweeted an apology to Chelsea Clinton on Tuesday. Barr also alleged Mr Soros, who is Jewish, was a Nazi collaborator a claim his spokesman labelled “an affront”. On Sunday, the comedian also criticized the Obama family for signing on with Netflix to produce TV programs and movies.
The comedian wrote on Tuesday she was “leaving Twitter”, but returned shortly after with a string of tweets addressing the cancellation of her sitcom. “I will handle my sadness the way I want to,” she said. “I’m tired of being attacked and belittled more than other comedians who have said worse.”
But in another, she said what she did was “unforgiveable” and asked fans not to defend her actions. She also claimed to have written the offensive tweet while under the effects of Ambien- a drug popularly used as a sleep aid. Barr also said that not only had her new series been axed, but also that older reruns of the sitcom had been cancelled by other networks.
A spokesman for Viacom, which owns various networks including Paramount, earlier said it would stop airing old episodes. The streaming service Hulu also said it would be removing the sitcom from its library. Barr also tweeted Jarrett to apologize for her original comment, which she said was “insensitive & tasteless”.