Walt Disney Co’s ABC network on Tuesday swiftly canceled the popular U.S. television comedy “Roseanne” after star Roseanne Barr incited outrage by comparing a black former Obama administration official to an ape in remarks on Twitter.
The show, a revival of the 1990s hit “Roseanne,” was ABC’s most widely watched prime time show for the TV season that ended last week. President Donald Trump has cited its huge viewership as evidence his supporters, who include Barr, want shows that speak to their concerns.
“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey said in a statement.
In a since deleted comment on Twitter, Barr compared Valerie Jarrett, a former adviser to President Barack Obama, to an ape. Barr wrote that if the Islamist political movement “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby = vj.”
The actress, 65, apologized “for making a bad joke” about Jarrett, who is black and was born in Iran to American parents. Barr’s tweet followed a Twitter conversation referring to a Wikileaks allegation that the CIA spied on French presidential candidates during the Obama administration.
“Don’t feel sorry for me, guys!!,” Barr said in a Tweet late on Tuesday. “I just want to apologize to the hundreds of people, and wonderful writers (all liberal) and talented actors who lost their jobs on my show due to my stupid tweet.”
Jarrett, 61, said on Tuesday that Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger called her before ABC announced the show’s cancellation.
“I think we have to turn it into a teaching moment,” Jarrett said at a taping of an MSNBC town hall event called “Everyday Racism in America” that the network released ahead of its scheduled broadcast. “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 defense.”