Why Roseanne Was Canceled by ABC - Rolling Stone
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‘Roseanne’ Is Canceled Following the Star’s Racist ‘Ape’ Tweet

The president of ABC called Barr’s tweet about a former Obama adviser “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values”

ABC Cancels 'Roseanne' Following Racist TweetABC Cancels 'Roseanne' Following Racist Tweet

Roseanne Barr and John Goodman on the set of ABC's 'Roseanne' reboot.


After Roseanne Barr posted a tweet Tuesday morning comparing Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to an ape, ABC has announced it has canceled the rebooted version of Roseanne, which had been the number-one show in television. “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. Disney CEO Bob Iger added on Twitter that “there was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.”

Amid a flurry of Tuesday morning tweets, Barr likened Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, who is African-American, to an ape. “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” she tweeted.

After trying to pass the slur off as a joke, Barr apologized and claimed she was leaving Twitter.

Prior to comparing Jarrett to an ape, Barr spent hours Tuesday morning tweeting and retweeting a number of far-right conspiracy theories, most of them regarding the Clintons and George Soros. Donald Trump Jr. retweeted two of Barr’s anti-Semetic tweets.

Following Barr’s remark about Jarrett, Wanda Sykes, an African-American comedian and consulting producer on the show, tweeted Tuesday morning that she was leaving Roseanne.

Sara Gilbert, Barr’s co-star both during the show’s original run and in the rebooted version, also tweeted her disappointment, although she did not announce any plans to leave Roseanne.

Emma Kenney, who played Darlene’s daughter Harris, weighed in shortly after the show was canceled.

Roseanne showrunner Bruce Helford expressed similar sentiments. “On behalf of all the writers and producers, we worked incredibly hard to create an amazing show,” he said in a statement, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “I was personally horrified and saddened by the comments and in no way do they reflect the values of the people who worked so hard to make this the iconic show that it is.”

Management company ICM Partners also announced on Tuesday that it would cut ties with Barr. “We are all greatly distressed by the disgraceful and unacceptable tweet from Roseanne Barr this morning,” ICM said in a statement. “What she wrote is antithetical to our core values, both as individuals and as an agency. Consequently, we have notified her that we will not represent her. Effective immediately, Roseanne Barr is no longer a client.”

Later on Tuesday, the show was pulled out of syndication by CMT, TV Land, the Paramount Network, The Laff and Australia’s Network Ten. Hulu also removed the show from its streaming services. “We support ABC’s decision and are removing the show from Hulu,” a spokesperson said. 

But Barr’s vile tweet shouldn’t come as a surprise. The comedian has a long history of espousing similarly problematic views. This ins’t even the first time she’s compared an African American to an ape on Twitter. In 2013, she wrote that Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice “is a man with big swinging ape balls.” Both that tweet and the tweet comparing Jarrett to an ape have been deleted.

The first season of the wildly successful and just as controversial reboot wrapped up last week. Both in real life and on the show, Roseanne is a Trump supporter, and like many Trump supporters – and Trump himself – she’s quite fond of tweeting her displeasure with Democrats. To coincide with the season finale, AdWeek ran a cover story on Barr, and the topic of her Twitter account came up. After noting that she “can’t back off from what’s really going on in the world,” Barr admitted she planned to handle social media differently going forward. “I’m going to just try to talk about what I’m for, rather than what I’m against,” she said.

After the reboot’s successful premiere in March, President Trump called Barr personally to congratulate her on her high ratings. That same week, ABC announced it was ordering a second season of the rebooted Roseanne, which went on to become the highest-rated show in television, ostensibly because of its pro-Trump bent. “I just wanted to have that dialogue about families torn apart by the election and their political differences of opinion and how we handle it,” Barr told the New York Times after the premiere. “I thought that this was an important thing to say at this time.”

This post has been updated with the latest information available.


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