ABC Cancels “Roseanne” After Racist Tweet Comparing Obama Adviser to “Ape”

The move came after Barr played at Trumpism for years.

Kristin Callahan/ZUMA Press

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

ABC announced Tuesday afternoon that it was canceling “Roseanne” amid outrage sparked by its namesake star, Roseanne Barr, who posted racist comments on Twitter mere hours before. The Trump-supporting comedian described Valerie Jarrett, an African American senior adviser to former President Barack Obama, as the spawn of the Muslim Brotherhood and the film “The Planet of the Apes.” 

“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel the show,” the network announced in a statement. Barr has yet to respond to the cancellation, but earlier Tuesday, she deleted the tweet and issued an apology, calling the tweet a “joke” made in “bad taste.”

While Barr’s tweet—posted as part of an unrelated thread that cited a false conspiracy theory alleging illegal surveillance by the Obama administration—prompted shock on Tuesday, many were quick to note how well the comedian’s racist comparison fit into her past as a social media troll.

Long before ABC’s decision to green-light a reboot of the hit 1990’s sitcom, Barr spent time fanning the flames of baseless conspiracy theories popularized on right-wing platforms, including Pizzagate and anti-Obama birther theories. Those past tweets didn’t stop with ABC’s revival of “Roseanne”; Barr continued to promote such theories, including one that accused Parkland mass shooting survivor David Hogg of giving a Nazi salute.

ABC faced a fierce backlash. Wanda Sykes, a producer the revival of the sitcom, announced that she was done with “Roseanne.” Sara Gilbert, who plays Barr’s daughter on the show, condemned Barr’s tweet and “so much more”—apparently in reference to Barr’s history of spreading hateful rhetoric online. 

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate