Actress and professional troll Roseanne Barr attacked former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett with a racist tweet early Tuesday morning, comparing Jarrett to an ape.
In response to an article tweeted by a conspiracy theory website, Barr wrote, "muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj."
Later in the morning, the Roseanne star posted an apology, writing, "I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans. 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." Minutes before that, she announced that she is leaving Twitter. (Her Twitter account is still active.)
Shortly after, ABC announced in a statement that it would be canceling her show. "Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant, and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show," Channing Dungey, the president of ABC Entertainment, said in the statement.
While other outlets glossed over the blatant racism of Barr's tweet by calling it "racially charged" or emphasizing that she apologized in their headlines — our favorite: "waded into racial waters" — we're calling it what it is. Racist. No amount of apologizing will erase the fact that Barr compared a Black woman to an ape. Not to mention that Jarrett has nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood, a statement that is part of yet another conspiracy theory Roseanne is peddling.
Before the cancellation, Wanda Sykes, a consulting producer on Barr's self-titled show, announced that she would be leaving.
This is far from the first time Barr has posted something racist and inflammatory. Her entire feed is the stuff of MAGA-charged, conspiracy-fueled trolls you normally block — the only difference is that she's verified and has almost 650,000 followers. An hour before her "apology," she was calling George Soros a Nazi (another conspiracy theory proven false) and harassing Chelsea Clinton.
It wasn’t the first time Barr compared a Black woman to an ape, either. Before deleting her tweet, in 2013 she called President Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice "a man with big swinging ape balls."
Her sitcom has been praised for giving voice to the "silent majority," for discussing everything from immigration to gender fluidity in the language spoken by the blue-collar Americans it portrays, and for getting real about how families disagree about politics. President Trump has even personally called Barr to congratulate her on the show's success.
"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 in March. "I thought that this was an important thing to say at this time."
Barr has long acted on the worst impulses behind the politics of the show, but she is just now facing the social consequences for it. After years of her Twitter-trolling, ABC finally pulled the plug on its biggest hit of the 2017-2018 season. Besides the obvious reason to nix Roseanne (Barr's racism), Syracuse University marketing professor Eunkyu Lee, PhD, said the company had other factors to consider from a financial standpoint.
"The decision must be based on a few aspects: expected reaction from the TV audience market (public criticism and decline in popularity), expected reaction from the advertiser market (canceling advertisements based on their unwillingness to associate their valuable brands with Roseanne), and ABC’s own concern on its brand affected by association with Roseanne," Dr. Lee told Refinery29. Plus, association with Barr would undoubtedly hurt the other actors' personal brands.
Now that we won't see Roseanne on TV anymore, we have some advice for her: Delete your account.
This story has been updated to reflect ABC's announcement that Roseanne has been canceled.