Roseanne was abruptly canceled by ABC this week after star Roseanne Barr made a series of racially charged posts on Twitter, but critics say the vitriol from the actress is not anything new and that the network ignored her long history of making such tweets when reviving the show.
Though Barr has long drawn criticism for her vocal support of Donald Trump and dabbling in far-right fringe conspiracy theories, the final straw came this week when she compared Barack Obama’s top adviser Valerie Jarrett, a black woman, to an ape. Roseanne apologized, but the tweet drew an immediate backlash and a terse statement from ABC that her Roseanne revival had been canceled. To critics, it was a long time coming.
As Vox noted, Roseanne Barr’s Twitter feed has been “full of racism and conspiracy theories for a decade,” and many critics assailed the network as soon as the revival was announced. Though Barr once espoused far-left beliefs — and even ran for president in 2012 on a far-left fringe political party — she had in recent years shifted and became an increasingly vocal backer of Donald Trump. Along the way, she dabbled in conspiracy theories including Pizzagate, the theory that a group of high-profile Democrats ran a child abuse ring from the basement of a popular Washington, D.C. pizzeria.
Vox also noted that Roseanne Barr was not afraid to share racially charged posts on Twitter during those years. She had previously taken aim at another black woman who was part of Barack Obama’s cabinet, adviser Susan Rice. In a 2013 post, Roseanne wrote, “susan rice is a man with big swinging ape b**ls”.
Rice actually made reference to the incident on Tuesday after ABC announced that Roseanne was canceled, The Hill noted. She re-tweeted a user who posted an image of the 2013 tweet, which Roseanne co-star Sara Gilbert had also referenced in calling out Roseanne Barr. Gilbert was one of the first to issue a public statement denouncing Barr, and it was only shortly afterward that ABC announced the show was canceled.
Others are joining in the criticism of ABC for reviving Roseanne despite Roseanne Barr’s very public history with racially charged statements. CNN Money reported that she was long seen as a “loose cannon” when talks to revive the show first started, not only for her history of questionable statements but for the reputation she received during the show’s original run as difficult. Her show saw a great deal of turnover, especially on the writing staff, and Roseanne often clashed with others on the set, the report noted.