‘Roseanne’ reboot cancelled after star’s racist tweet

Roseanne Barr attacked Obama aide Valerie Jarrett in a racist tweet earlier today (May 29)

The reboot of Roseanne has been cancelled after its lead star posted a racist tweet.

Roseanne Barr, who plays the titular role, attacked Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to Barack Obama, on Twitter earlier today (May 29). In the since-deleted tweet, Barr wrote: “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”

Shortly after, Barr apologised for the remarks. “I apologise to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans,” she 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.” She also said she would leave Twitter following the comments. 

After being the subject of a huge backlash, ABC announced that it would be cancelling the series. In a statement, ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said: “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”

Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger also commented on the cancellation, tweeting: “There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.” ABC is owned by Disney.

Barr’s co-star and executive producer Sara Gilbert described her comments about Jarrett “and so much more” as “abhorrent”. “[They] do not reflect the beliefs of our cast and crew or anyone associated with our show,” she said. “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.”

Michael Fishman, who played D.J. Conner on the show also took to Twitter to condemn Barr’s statements.

“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.”

Showrunner Bruce Helford, also said he was “personally horrified and saddened by the comments,” adding that “[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.”

After the series cancellation was announced, talent agency ICM Partners also announced they would be severing ties with Barr. “We are all greatly distressed by the disgraceful and unacceptable tweet from Roseanne Barr this morning. What she wrote is antithetical to our core values, both as individuals and as an agency,” an internal message circulated to the company’s staff said. “Consequently, we have notified her that we will not represent her. Effective immediately, Roseanne Barr is no longer a client.”

Roseanne returned after 21 years off-screen in March 2018. The 10th season comprised of nine episodes and finished airing last week (May 22). The show was expected to be recommissioned for an 11th season before today’s cancellation.