'Abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values': Celebrities react after Roseanne axed
ABC has cancelled the short-lived reboot of Roseanne after its star tweeted about muslims, Jews and "apes"
Hours after star Roseanne Barr posted a racist message on Twitter, ABC has axed the reboot of her hit comedy Roseanne.
"Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj," read the tweet, which was reportedly a remark about Valerie Jarrett, a former top adviser to president Barack Obama and an African-American. The tweet has since been removed.
In a later tweet, Barr called her earlier post "a joke," then apologized, saying "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." She then tweeted another apology and said she was leaving Twitter.
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.—@therealroseanne
Earlier, Barr had also tweeted about billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros, calling him "a nazi who turned in his fellow Jews 2 be murdered in German concentration camps & stole their wealth."
The tweets generated a tidal wave of response, including from the cast and creators of the show.
Before the announcement of the cancellation, Roseanne consulting producer and famed writer and comedian Wanda Sykes vowed not to return to the show.
I will not be returning to <a href="https://twitter.com/RoseanneOnABC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RoseanneOnABC</a>.—@iamwandasykes
After the announcement, co-star Sara Gilbert wrote, "Roseanne's recent comments about Valerie Jarrett, and so much more, are 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."
She went on to tweet that the cast and crew were proud of the show, and that their opinions were "separate and apart from the opinions and words of one cast member." (In their replies, many pointed out that Barr is the central character of the show as well as its namesake, so can hardly be defined as "one cast member.")
This is incredibly sad and difficult for all of us, as we’ve created a show that we believe in, are proud of, and that audiences love— one that is separate and apart from the opinions and words of one cast member.—@THEsaragilbert
The announcement sent ripples through the entire industry, with Robert Iger, chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, which owns ABC, quoting the official statement that called Barr's tweet "abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values."
"There was only one thing to do here," he added, "and that was the right thing."
From Channing Dungey, President of ABC Entertainment: "Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show."<br>There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.—@RobertIger
Long before this controversy, many questioned the wisdom of airing a pro-Trump Roseanne reboot, especially during a time of heightened tensions in the U.S. Ava DuVernay — the Oscar-winning director of A Wrinkle in Time and Selma — made that sentiment clear in her tweet following the cancellation.
In it, she shares of a photo of ABC executive Channing Dungey, who announced the cancellation, and says she is "Sitting on top of your world like a Queen in full judgment of your garbage."
For the record, this is Channing Dungey. Sitting on top of your world like a Queen in full judgement of your garbage and taking it out. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Roseanne?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Roseanne</a> <a href="https://t.co/GxEP2B61uq">pic.twitter.com/GxEP2B61uq</a>—@ava
Prominent writer and civil rights activist Shaun King also questioned the wisdom of giving the outspoken star a platform in the first place. "It was widely known and meticulously documented that she was a flagrant bigot before @ABC & @Disney rolled out the red carpet for her anyway," he tweeted. "It's shameful."
What's doubly disturbing about this Roseanne debacle is not just what she said about Valerie Jarrett, but that it was widely known and meticulously documented that she was a flagrant bigot before <a href="https://twitter.com/ABC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ABC</a> & <a href="https://twitter.com/Disney?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Disney</a> rolled out the red carpet for her anyway. <br><br>It's shameful.—@ShaunKing
Renowned producer Shonda Rhimes said the firing is in line with a key lesson she teaches her four-year-old: we are all responsible for our actions.
But honestly she got what she deserved. As I tell my 4 year old, one makes a choice with one’s actions. Roseanne made a choice. A racist one. ABC made a choice. A human one.—@shondarhimes
Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis simply expressed her gratitude.
Thank you Channing Dungey!<a href="https://t.co/VIlKTF9y7Z">https://t.co/VIlKTF9y7Z</a>—@violadavis
Trump supporters, however, see the cancellation very differently, and argue that it amounts to a limit on free speech.
"I don't understand it to be anything other than free speech," said Fox host Harris Faulkner. "It is extremely offensive but it is just that. She says in one of her tweets, there were three rapid-fire today, where she said: 'It was a joke. It was a miscalculated joke.'"
The cancellation marks a significant move for ABC, since Roseanne was their number one sitcom, drawing 25 million viewers for the launch, and more than 10 million viewers per week by the end of the first season. Season two was in pre-production, but has been halted, and reruns have been pulled from the schedule.
Tune in to CBC's q Wednesday morning when our film panel will discuss the cancellation with host Tom Power.