‘Roseanne’ canceled after star’s controversial comments
ABC/Adam Rose(NEW YORK) — The show “Roseanne” was canceled Tuesday, hours after Roseanne Barr, lead actress in the rebooted sitcom, faced a public storm of criticism with a tweet calling a former presidential adviser to President Barack Obama a product of an Islamic group and a character from “Planet of the Apes.”
“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” said Channing Dungey, the president of ABC Entertainment, in a statement.
ABC television group and ABC News are both owned by Disney.
In a tweet, Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of Disney, said there was only one choice.
The tweet that sparked the backlash was about Valerie Jarrett, an African American woman, lawyer and longstanding senior adviser to former President Barack Obama. “Muslim Brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” Barr tweeted early Monday morning. She later deleted the tweet and apologized.
Her comparison of Jarrett to an ape and the assertion that she has a connection to the organization Muslim Brotherhood, which she does not, stoked immediate anger on social media.
Sara Gilbert, who played Barr’s daughter on the show, mourned the end of the sitcom reboot on Twitter.
In another tweet, she condemned Barr’s tweet and put distance between Barr’s and her own. “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,” she tweeted.
Before the cancellation, Twitter users called the remarks racist and bigoted, asking ABC’s television group and Disney if she would be allowed to continue on the show.
And amidst the backlash, Wanda Sykes, an African American actress and consulting producer on the show, tweeted that she wouldn’t be returning to “Roseanne.”
Jarrett, who is from the president’s hometown of Chicago, is not Muslim and is not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s oldest and largest Islamic organization, according to research by the fact-checking website Snopes.
The unsubstantiated claim that she practices Islam arose at times during her tenure in the Obama administration.
Barr deleted the initial tweet and apologized hours after the original comment, though not before tweeting that Islam is not a race and includes “EVERY RACE of people,” an apparent dispute to calls that the tweet was racist. Islam is the religion practiced by Muslim people around the world.
Barr regularly tweets about politics and is an avid supporter of President Donald Trump, as is the character she plays on the ABC sitcom.
On Monday, Barr falsely tweeted that Chelsea Clinton was married to Democratic donor George Soros’ nephew. She later corrected herself. The daughter of former President Bill Clinton and presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is married to Marc Mezvinsky.
On “Good Morning America” in March when the show “Roseanne” first aired its hit reboot, Barr told ABC News’ Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos that she received a congratulatory call from Trump, who she said she’s known for a long time.
The call was “exciting,” she said, and in the interview she reflected on a need for more “civilized” conversation in the country.
“That’s what we need to do as a country is figure out what we don’t like, talk to each other and discuss how we’re going to get it changed or fixed,” Barr said. “I really hope that it opens up civil conversation between people instead of just of mud-slinging. I really do because I think we need to be more civilized in that,” she said.
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