On Tuesday afternoon, news broke that ABC has canceled Roseanne, which the network confirmed to Bustle. This announcement comes soon after lead actor Roseanne Barr posted an offensive tweet that many deemed racist and Islamophobic. Barr has since deleted the tweet and issued an apology, but that wasn’t enough for many fans, who called on ABC to take action. (Bustle reached out to Barr’s rep about the Twitter backlash, but did not receive an immediate response.)
In a statement from Channing Dungey, president of ABC Entertainment, shared by BuzzFeed News’ Kate Aurthur on Twitter, the network announced:
When Bustle reached out, ABC provided the same statement above.
The news comes hours after Barr tweeted the offensive comment directed at President Barack Obama’s former advisor, Valerie Jarrett. Prior to the official cancellation announcement, Wanda Sykes tweeted she wasn’t returning to Roseanne next season. Sykes worked as a consulting producer on the series. (Bustle had reached out to Sykes’ rep for comment, but did not receive an immediate response.)
In the since-deleted tweet, Barr said that Jarrett was the child of "Muslim Brotherhood and Planet Of The Apes." Soon after, Barr issued an apology. "I apologize. I am now leaving Twitter," Barr wrote first, before following that up with a longer apology for "making a bad joke about [Jarrett’s] politics and her looks." The Root wrote that Barr was responding to a series of tweets claiming that Jarrett had helped hide Obama administration secrets.
Shortly after Barr’s tweets, Sara Gilbert, who plays Darlene on Roseanne and serves as an executive producer, condemned Barr’s "recent comments about Valerie Jarrett, and so much more," as "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."
But as several Twitter users pointed out, this isn’t the first time Barr has posted a problematic tweet aimed at an Obama official.
"Roseanne Barr apology is not accepted. She [has] done this before with former Obama NSA adviser and friend Susan Rice," Twitter user @GRYKING wrote on Tuesday. In a screenshot posted by @GRYKING, Barr apparently tweeted, "Susan Rice is a man with big swinging ape balls" back in 2013. (The screenshot was widely shared across Twitter by other users as well, though the initial tweet by Barr appears to have been deleted.)
Barr’s behavior is a pattern that others on Twitter felt deserved to be condemned by ABC, who hadn’t initially responded after the actor’s tweet and subsequent apologies. "Shame on you @therealroseanne and @ABCNetwork @RoseanneOnABC," Zoe Saldana tweeted. "Not a single apology can get me to respect your despicable racist character. #EndRacism in #mainstream media NOW!!!"
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough tweeted, "There is no apology she can make that justifies @ABC turning a blind eye to this bigotry by airing another second of her show." The network seemed to agree, choosing to cancel the show.
More to come…
Additional reporting from Jamie Primeau.
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