ABC cancels ‘Roseanne’ over ‘abhorrent, repugnant’ tweet

The actress apologized for comparing former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett to the ‘Planet of the Apes’ and the Muslim Brotherhood, but the damage was already done.


One tweet—53 characters—ended a TV star’s comeback and cost a lot of other people their jobs.

Roseanne Barr’s outspokenness on her Twitter account has, over time, garnered both fans and detractors—as well as momentum for her show’s reboot on ABC Entertainment. On Tuesday, however, one of her tweets sent the network and other organizations scrambling to cut ties with her.

The Hill reported:

In a since-deleted tweet, Barr said [former White House adviser Valerie] Jarrett was a cross between “Planet of the Apes” and the Muslim Brotherhood. “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” Barr wrote, using Jarrett’s initials. The message was in response to a tweet accusing Jarrett of helping to “hide” misdeeds for the Obama administration.

Social media users lashed out quickly, condemning Barr’s remarks. Many called for ABC to cancel the show under the hashtag #CancelRoseanne.

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough tweeted:

Danny Zuker, executive producer of ABC’s “Modern Family,” tweeted:

Barr apologized with a few tweets:

However, her apology came roughly 30 minutes after she defended her original tweet, making it seem less genuine.

Vox reported:

Roseanne’s revival has long been overshadowed by its star’s vocal political opinions. Barr is a Trump supporter who has embraced and amplified conspiracy theories on Twitter, and who has a history of comparing black women to apes. So when she went on Twitter on Tuesday morning to amplify a few conspiracy theories and to say that Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett looked like “the muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby,” it was not exactly out of character for her.

But none of her previous behavior has had a hugely detrimental effect on the ratings success of the Roseanne revival, which was confirmed for a second season (the sitcom’s 11th season overall) within days of its debut. Now that second season has apparently fallen victim to its star’s politics.

A few hours after Barr apologized, Wanda Sykes, consulting producer for “Roseanne,” announced she was leaving the show.

A few hours after Sykes’ tweet, ABC announced that it would pull the plug on the show. Its president, Channing Dungey, called Barr’s remarks “abhorrent” and “repugnant”:

The Walt Disney Company’s chief executive, Bob Iger, added to ABC’s statement in a tweet of his own:

CNBC reported:

“You can’t debate what is morally right,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in an interview with CNBC’s David Faber minutes after the announcement.

Iger said there was no debate internally about what to do. He discussed the cancellation with Ben Sherwood, president of the Disney-ABC Television Group, and other executives, according to Faber.

Support for the decision came immediately, with many social media users posting tweets such as these:

Though many applauded ABC’s move, the decision to cancel the reboot—even though a second season had already been greenlighted—was probably made easier because of declining viewer numbers.

On April 4, CNN reported:

An average of 15.2 million people tuned in for the second week of episodes of the reboot of the beloved comedy.

That number represents a 17% dip from the whopping 18.2 million viewers the show had last week — but it’s still a number almost any other show would love to get. And it helped lift ABC’s total viewership in primetime by 84% compared to the same night last year.

On May 2, The Hollywood Reporter’s Michael O’Connell wrote:

The ABC comedy landed with 10.3 million viewers and a 2.5 rating among adults 18-49, with respective spills of 23 and 26 percent. It’s the first big drop for Roseanne since it returned to the air with the biggest scripted telecast of the season.

Roseanne ‘s status as the top broadcast series of the year seems to be in little danger, dips or not. With the latest live-plus-3 averages for its first five episodes, its average 6.1 rating among adults 18-49 outpaces that of NBC’s This Is Us by a sizable 30 percent.

It didn’t take long for Barr’s talent agency to also distance itself from the beleaguered actress.

Shortly after ABC announced “Roseanne’s” cancellation, ICM Partners said it would no longer represent Barr.

Variety reported:

“We are all greatly distressed by the disgraceful and unacceptable tweet from Roseanne Barr this morning,” ICM Partners said in a statement Tuesday. “What she wrote is antithetical to our core values, both as individuals and as an agency. Consequently, we have notified her that we will not represent her. Effective immediately, Roseanne Barr is no longer a client.”

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