LOS ANGELES — Responding to a racially charged Twitter post by star Roseanne Barr comparing former Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to an ape, ABC canceled Barr’s successful comedy series reboot “Roseanne.” May 29.
“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” said Channing Dungey, president of ABC Entertainment.
During a series of Twitter posts, Barr responded to a comment about Jarrett — one of President Obama’s longest-serving and most trusted advisers — by writing, “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”
An uproar of criticism quickly followed, and Barr deleted the post and apologized, then said she would be leaving Twitter.
“I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans,” Barr wrote. “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. I apologize. I am now leaving Twitter.”
Robert Iger, CEO and chairman of The Walt Disney Co., ABC’s parent company, said he supported the cancellation of “Roseanne.”
“There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing,” Iger wrote on Twitter.
Barr was also dropped by her talent agency, ICM Partners, which circulated a memo to its staff confirming the move.
“We are all greatly distressed by the disgraceful and unacceptable tweet from Roseanne Barr this morning,” the memo said. “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.”
Prior to ABC’s cancellation announcement, comedian/actress Wanda Sykes, who was a consulting producer on Barr’s sitcom, announced she “will not be returning” to the series in light of Barr’s comment.
Series co-star Sara Gilbert also responded angrily to Barr’s post, writing, “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.
“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.”
South Los Angeles activist Najee Ali issued a statement calling on Twitter to permanently suspend Barr’s account.
“Barr racist tweet is not free speech. It’s hate speech,” Ali said. “The racism and derogatory comments against Jarett that Barr spewed out comparing her to an ape is something that no human being or corporation should support.
“Barr shouldn’t be allowed to just walk away from Twitter. She should be banned by Dorsey for using Twitter to spread her racist comments,” Ali added.
Barr also directed critical posts at Chelsea Clinton, saying her middle name was “Soros” by claiming Clinton is married to a nephew of George Soros. She is not.
Barr apologized for that post, after Clinton herself responded, but suggested in another post she is actually married to the “son of a corrupt senator.”
The popular “Roseanne” reboot series recently wrapped up its first season.