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ABC drops Roseanne show after racist tweet

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ABC TV network has cancelled comedian Roseanne Barr’s sitcom 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.

The reboot of her hit ’90s sitcom “Roseanne” has been a ratings hit.

The comedian deleted Monday night’s original post, but could not contain the backlash.

“I apologise to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans,” 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.”

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

Mrs Jarrett was a senior adviser to former US President Barack Obama, and worked with him during his early days in Chicago politics.

She was born in Iran to African-American parents.

What else did Barr say?

Mrs Jarrett was not the only target of Barr’s Twitter tirade in recent days.

On Monday, the 65-year-old entertainer claimed Chelsea Clinton – daughter of former US President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton – was married to a relative of billionaire investor George Soros in a tweet.

Barr tweeted an apology to Ms Clinton on Tuesday.

Barr also alleged Mr Soros, who is Jewish, was a Nazi collaborator – a claim his spokesman labelled “an affront”.

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

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

The comedian wrote on Tuesday she was “now leaving Twitter”.

A predictable end

By James Cook, BBC Los Angeles Correspondent

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 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.


What’s the reaction?

Speaking at a prescheduled MSNBC town hall event on racism, Mrs Jarrett said the Roseanne Barr controversy was “a teaching moment”.

“I’m fine, I’m worried about all the people out there who don’t have a circle of friends and followers coming to their defence,” she said.

She added that Robert Iger, chief executive of Disney, ABC’s parent company, had called her to apologise and said he had “zero tolerance” for Barr’s tweet.

Following ABC’s cancellation notice, Barr’s talent agency, ICM Partners, dropped her as a client.

Entertainment media report an internal email to ICM employees called Barr’s tweet “disgraceful and unacceptable”.

Sara Gilbert, who plays daughter Darlene on the series, posted on Twitter that Barr’s comments were “abhorrent”.

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bbc.com
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