ABC has canceled 'Roseanne' after star Roseanne Barr went on a vitriolic and racist Twitter rampage
ABC announced Tuesday that it canceled "Roseanne" after the show's star, Roseanne Barr, went on a vitriolic Twitter rant Monday.
"Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show," Channing Dungey, president of ABC Entertainment, said in a statement released just hours after the comedian's offensive social media rant.
Barr was also dropped by her talent agency, ICM Partners, which announced in a statement that her "disgraceful and unacceptable tweet" was "antithetical to our core values, both as individuals and as an agency. Consequently, we have notified her that we will not represent her."
The cancellation capped a day of online furor over a Twitter rant by Barr in which the actress/comedian spewed false conspiracy theories, went after former first daughter Chelsea Clinton and attacked a former adviser to President Barack Obama with a racist insult. After intense backlash and calls for ABC to fire the comedian and cancel her show, Barr issued a blanket apology and said she was giving up the social media platform. "I apologize. I am now leaving Twitter," she wrote, hours after the tweetstorm began.
The mea culpa was apparently not enough for comedian Wanda Sykes, a consulting producer for Barr's show. "I will not be returning to @RoseanneOnABC," Sykes wrote shortly after the online tirade ended.
And ultimately, it wasn't enough for ABC, which announced the show's cancellation shortly after.
The social-media rant wasn't exactly a surprise performance by Barr, who regularly delights supporters of President Donald Trump with her retweets of conservative memes and stories. She has trucked in conservative conspiracies before, though she deleted most of her old tweets once it was announced that her show "Roseanne" was coming back on the air after a 21-year hiatus.
But even by her own standards, Monday's tweets were particularly vitriolic. She started by spreading the false rumor (which apparently Scott Baio believes, too) that Chelsea Clinton was married to the nephew of billionaire liberal Democratic donor George Soros, who is a lightning rod for false conservative theories.
Clinton responded in her usual M.O. when dealing with social-media weirdness: a clapback cloaked in sweetness. "Good morning Roseanne - my given middle name is Victoria," she wrote. "I imagine George Soros's nephews are lovely people. I'm just not married to one. I am grateful for the important work @OpenSociety (Soros's organization) does in the world. Have a great day!"
Barr later corrected herself, but added another insult. "CORRECTION: CHELSEA CLINTON IS NOT MARRIED TO A SOROS NEPHEW. HER HUSBAND IS THE SON OF A CORRUPT SENATOR, SO SORRY!" the comedian tweeted. (Fact check: Clinton's father-in-law was convicted of financial fraud, but he was a member of the House, not the Senate.)
Clinton wasn't Barr's only target, though - she had more to say about Soros, whom she accused of wanting to "overthrow ... (U.S.) constitutional republic."
Barr also falsely claimed that Soros was "a nazi who turned in his fellow Jews 2 be murdered in German concentration camps."
And she called on Americans to "unite against" a CIA mind-control program, for good measure.
In what might have been her most offensive missive (though it was a tough contest), she appeared to take aim at former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, identifying her by her initials: "muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj," she wrote, though she later claimed it was "a joke." After more intense criticism directed to her and ABC, she issued a fuller apology. "I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans," she wrote. "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 has tweeted in the past about "Pedogate," the term for conspiracy theories that accuse people (usually Trump opponents) of being part of a secret ring of pedophiles, and Pizzagate (the most famous of those theories). She also tweeted last year about Seth Rich, the Democratic National Committee staffer who was shot in Washington, echoing a conservative theory that his death was covered up by the Clintons. "THE FIX IS IN!" Barr tweeted at the time.
"Roseanne," in which Barr plays the Trump-loving matriarch of a blue-collar family, had been renewed for a second season on ABC, after a debut season in which it was the top show in Nielsen ratings, and averaged 19 million viewers an episode. Though the ratings were through the roof, the show's producers seemed to hope they could steer clear of controversy by dialing down the show's focus on politics. Dungey had said that the upcoming season, slated for fall 2018, would move "away from politics and (be) more focused on family."
And Barr's controversy-stoking social-media habits had been flagged as potentially problematic for the show. In an interview with Advertising Week, Sarah Gilbert, the actress who plays Roseanne's daughter, Darlene, and an executive producer of the show, said Barr's friends and family had kept her away from Twitter as the show prepared to launch. "Her kids, and her TV kids, try to keep her off of social media," Gilbert said.
Barr herself did not immediately publicly respond to the cancellation.
Author information: Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.