On Tuesday, ABC canceled the recently revived sitcom “Roseanne” after the main actress Roseanne Barr tweeted racist remarks. The show originally hit its peak in the 1990s with over 200 episodes airing in 10 seasons. The reboot, at first, seemed to have a similar effect, with the premiere episodes reaching around 25 million collected views.
The comedy sparked a controversy from the start, as the character of Roseanne held strong Republican views, strongly supported Trump and made the occasional racist remark. But now that “Roseanne” has met its end, this all seems a bit too ironic.
Barr tweeted from her personal account saying, “Muslim brotherhood & planet apes had a baby=vj.” VJ referring to Valerie Jarret, the former top advisor to President Obama, who happens to be black.
The tweet has since been deleted, and Barr has tweeted an apology saying, “I apology to Valerie Jarret 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.”
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.
— Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) May 29, 2018
Unfortunately, the apology was just too little, too late, as “Roseanne” faced cancellation by ABC just mere hours later. ABC released a statement saying, “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.” Barr has since tweeted, “Don’t feel sorry for me guys!!,” but it became clear the damage has been done.
On top of the Valerie Jarret comment, Barr faced criticism for her outspoken Twitter personality before. She recently had a Twitter dispute with Chelsea Clinton. Barr called Clinton “Chelsea Soros Clinton,” implying Clinton married into the successful liberal investor, George Soros’ family.
Clinton replied to Barr, correcting the false comment only hours before “Roseanne” met its demise. President Trump also retweeted one of Barr’s posts during Clinton and Barr’s small social media exchange.
Good morning Roseanne – my given middle name is Victoria. I imagine George Soros’s nephews are lovely people. I’m just not married to one. I am grateful for the important work @OpenSociety does in the world. Have a great day! https://t.co/mXokiTEwN7
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) May 29, 2018
Although it is ironic, the cancellation of “Roseanne” unfortunately does not come as a surprise to many. “Roseanne” previously faced criticism for its questionable content. When the comedy first aired, many praised the show for its celebration of free speech and being courageous enough to depict controversial material.
“Roseanne” showed a Trump supporter in a true light, something other popular sitcoms have not done before. But as with most issues nowadays, Barr, herself faced heavy critique as well, especially after an episode aired in which Roseanne believed her Muslim neighbors built a bomb. Yes, that actually happened.
Ultimately, the irony shows that Barr met defeat through her free speech commentary, which previously gave the reboot of “Roseanne” so much attention in the first place. Even if Barr originally worked to represent “real people” in her show, somewhere along the way she stepped over the line and continued to walk full speed ahead. When it comes to Barr, it became clear she held more similarities to her character than just her name, something ABC, for good reason, did not want to support.