Roseanne co-stars Sara Gilbert and Michael Fishman, as well as showrunner Bruce Helford, decried Roseanne Barr’s racist comments about a former Barack Obama aide, which caused ABC to cancel the rebooted series.
On Tuesday morning, Barr posted a tweet that compared Valerie Jarrett, who is African-American, to an ape: “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” While Barr tried to pass off the tweet as a joke, ABC swiftly canceled the show, even though it had become one of the network’s most succesful programs.
On Twitter, Gilbert – who has played Darlene Conner-Healy throughout the show’s 10 seasons – called Barr’s comments “abhorrent” and said they “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. 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.”
Roseanne’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.
— sara gilbert (@THEsaragilbert) May 29, 2018
Fishman, who played D.J. Conner on Roseanne, condemned Barr’s statements on Twitter as well, calling them “reprehensible and intolerable.”
“I feel devastated, not for the end of the Roseanne show, but for all those who poured their hearts and souls into our jobs, and the audience that welcomed us into their homes,” Fishman wrote. “Our cast, crew, writers, and production staff strived for inclusiveness, with numerous storylines designed to reflect inclusiveness. The words of one person do not exemplify the thinking of all involved.”
— Michael Fishman (@ReelMFishman) May 29, 2018
Roseanne showrunner Bruce Helford, who worked on the show during its fifth season before returning for the reboot, said he was “personally horrified and saddened by the comments,” according to Deadline. He continued, “[I]n no way do they reflect the values of the people who worked so hard to make this the iconic show that it is.”
On top of the growing mountain of criticism and the show’s cancellation, The Wrap reported that Viacom will pull reruns of Roseanne from three TV channels, Paramount Network, TV Land and CMT. Laff, a digital platform that hosts old sitcoms and movies, will also yank the show. According to Variety, the talent agency ICM Partners has dropped Barr as a client as well.