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Roseanne Barr: Show Canceled Due to Advertisers Threatening to Boycott

Comedian blamed racist comment about former Obama adviser on “Ambien tweeting,” fired back at angered co-stars on Twitter

Roseanne Barr: Show Canceled Due to 'Threatened' Advertiser 'Boycott'

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UPDATE: Roseanne Barr continued to fight against racism accusations after sending a racist tweet against former Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. “I’m not a racist, I never was & I never will be,” the comedian tweeted Wednesday. “One stupid joke in a lifetime of fighting 4 civil rights 4 all minorities, against networks, studios, at the expense of my nervous system/family/wealth will NEVER b taken from me.”

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Roseanne Barr’s Twitter hiatus didn’t last long. She originally left the social media platform following racist comments that catalyzed the cancellation of her revamped sitcom, Roseanne. But within hours, the comedian was back, firing off a series of tweets late Tuesday night and Wednesday morning claiming, in part, that ABC nixed her show due to a “threatened boycott of the show’s advertisers by [people] who do that sort of thing.” She added Wanda Sykes announcing her departure also made the network “nervous.”

Barr’s latest Twitter spree, written largely in replies to other users, veered between supportive replies, assorted retweets (including messages from alt-right figures Jack Posobiec and Thomas Wictor) and angered responses to her fellow cast members. She also apologized for the original damning comment in which she compared former Barack Obama aide Valerie Jarrett – who is African American – to an ape (“muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj”).

The actor apologized directly to Jarrett for her “insensitive & tasteless tweet” and, in a since-deleted tweet, blamed her offensive comments on the insomnia medication Ambien. “I did something [unforgivable] so do not defend me. 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. I made a mistake I wish I hadn’t but…don’t defend it please. ty,” she wrote.

Barr asserted she isn’t racist, calling herself an “idiot who made a bad joke” and noting her “whole life has been about fighting racism.” She emphasized she didn’t realize that Jarrett is black. “I honestly thought she was Jewish and Persian-ignorant of me for sure, but … I did,” she wrote. Later, she added, “I mistakenly thought she was white.”

The Roseanne star also fired back directly at her co-stars Michael Fishman and Sara Gilbert, both of whom condemned her initial comments about Jarrett. Responding to Fishman, who tweeted about his aim for “inclusivity” on the show, Barr wrote, “I created the platform that inclusivity and you know it. ME. You throw me under the bus. nice!” To Gilbert, she initially replied, “Wow! Unreal.” Then, hours later, she changed her tone, adding, “I understand her position and why she said what she said. I forgive her. it just shocked me a bit, but I indeed fucked up. … She’s distancing herself from me and my tweet – she has to.”

At one point during the social media barrage, Barr also noted that she will discuss the situation Friday on comedian Joe Rogan’s podcast.

ABC canceled the rebooted Rosanne after Barr’s offensive tweet, despite massive ratings that had propelled the series into one of the network’s most successful programs. Many members of the show’s cast and crew – including Fishman and Gilbert – distanced themselves from Barr. Showrunner Bruce Helford said he was “personally horrified and saddened by the comments.”

In addition to the new show’s cancellation, Viacom announced plans to pull reruns of the original Roseanne from three TV channels: Paramount Network, TV Land and CMT. Laff, a digital platform that includes vintage sitcoms and films, also promised to pull the series. Meanwhile, talent agency ICM Partners dropped Barr as a client. 

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