Entertainment

ABC drops Roseanne show after racist tweet

ABC TV network has cancelled comedian Roseanne Barr’s show after she posted a racist tweet likening an African-American former Obama aide to an ape.

ABC said: “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values and we have decided to cancel her show.”

Barr’s tweet said Valerie Jarrett was the child of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Planet of the Apes film.

She deleted the post and apologised but could not contain the backlash.

“I apologise to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans,” Ms Barr wrote, after follow-up posts in which she defended her remarks as a “joke”.

“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.”

Ms Barr also wrote on Tuesday that she was “now leaving Twitter”, but it was unclear if that meant she would deactivate her account.

Ms Barr’s initial tweet about Mrs Jarrett came in response to another Twitter user, who accused Mrs Jarrett of helping to conceal purported spying during the Obama administration.

Ten days ago, she pledged that she was “leaving all social media except Instagram”, saying it was because the atmosphere had become “toxic”.

What’s the reaction? 

Barr’s castmate Sara Gilbert posted on Twitter on Tuesday that the cancellation was “incredibly sad and difficult”.

sara gilbert

@THEsaragilbert

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.

“We’ve created a show that we believe in,” Gilbert said in the tweet. “One that is separate and apart from the opinions and words of one cast member.”

Following Ms Barr’s tweet, one of Roseanne’s consulting producers, Wanda Sykes, said she would not be returning to the show.

Robert Iger, chief executive of Disney, ABC’s parent company, responded to the cancellation announcement, saying: “There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.”

Another cast member, Emma Kenney, said “the racist and distasteful comments from Roseanne are inexcusable”, adding: “Bullies do not win. Ever.”

Danny Zuker, a writer for the original 1988 Roseanne show, said it was “nauseating” to see what Ms Barr had become.

A predictable end 

Well, that was predictable.

The return of Roseanne was as short-lived as it was spectacular.

Its star, Roseanne Barr, is the Donald Trump of the sitcom: blunt, provocative and, at times, deeply offensive.

For years her social media activity was laced with profanity, provocation and peculiar conspiracy theories.

ABC executives knew all that when they took the risk on the reboot and at first, it seemed the gamble had paid off.

Ratings were superb, while critics praised the sitcom for tackling American political divisions in a manner sympathetic to the millions of people who voted for Mr Trump – a group which often complained that TV wasn’t made for them any more – while still entertaining millions of his opponents.

Now for the backlash from angry supporters of the show, the Trump administration and – one imagines – from the president himself.

The sitcom’s cancellation comes just a month after the hit show was revived.

The premiere in April garnered high ratings, attracting over 18 million viewers.

Earlier on Tuesday, Ms Barr tweeted an apology to Chelsea Clinton – the daughter of former US President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton – after claiming she was married to a relative of billionaire investor George Soros, a bogeyman to right-wing conspiracy theorists.

On Sunday, the 65-year-old comedian also criticised the Obama family for signing on with Netflix to produce TV programmes and movies.

“I don’t think any President should go from WH to producing big media 4 public consumption.”

Roseanne Barr

@therealroseanne

I don’t think any President should go from WH to producing big media 4 public consumption. It’s an unholy alliance. Leave show biz 2 professionals-altho i do think going from show biz 2 WH is Ok-I might do it one day, then retire from both.

“It’s an unholy alliance. Leave showbiz, 2 professionals,” she wrote, adding that “going from showbiz 2 WH is OK”.

Barr – who ran unsuccessfully for the Green party’s White House nomination in 2012 – also implied she was considering a presidential run someday in the future.

The comedy series won conservative praise because Barr plays a Trump supporter, a group largely ignored by Hollywood.

US President Donald Trump, whom Barr also supports off-camera as well, called to congratulate her on the success of the rebooted show.

The original Roseanne aired from 1988-97 and was critically acclaimed for its portrayal of working-class Americans.

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