Roseanne Barr has apologized for the social media rant that led to the demise of her hit ABC sitcom, but she continues to feel bad about how her words have affected her former co-stars. After ABC pulled the plug on the top-rated Roseanne reboot amid Barr’s offensive comment about former White House advisor Valerie Jarrett, the comedian took to Twitter to explain her ill-fated joke and to offer an apology to Jayden Rey, the child actor who played her granddaughter, Mary, on the short-lived sitcom revival.
In a now-deleted tweet posted on Thursday, Roseanne Barr expressed remorse over how her actions have hurt Rey. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Barr tweeted the following.
“The saddest part of all is 4 Jayden Rey on the show whom I grew2 love so much & am so ashamed of myself that she would ever think I do not love her bc she is African American. It’s the most gawd awful painful thing. I can’t let myself cave in tho.”
Jayden Rey played Roseanne’s 8-year-old granddaughter, Mary Conner, on the nine-episode Roseanne reboot. Mary was the daughter of DJ Conner (Michael Fishman) and his African-American wife Geena (Xosha Roquemore), who was stationed overseas with the military.
While Roseanne Barr has admitted that her tweet, which compared Valerie Jarrett to a Planet of the Apes character, was inexcusable, she offered a further explanation about it on Twitter. Barr revealed that she begged Disney-ABC Television Group chief Ben Sherwood not to cancel Roseanne, explaining that when the ABC executive asked her “what were you thinking when you did this?” she explained that she thought Jarrett was white. “She looks like my family,” Barr said.
Despite the tweet about Jarrett, Roseanne Barr insists she is not racist. She has said that being called a racist is worse than losing her show. The 65-year-old comedian has long said that she fought for diversity on the set of her show and that she was “angry about [the lack of diverse casting]” on the original Roseanne series.
In a previous interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Barr revealed that the addition of DJ Conner’s black daughter was something she insisted on for the Roseanne revival. Fans of the original series may recall that young DJ struggled with kissing a black classmate on the original Roseanne series in the 1990s.
“That was something that I always wanted to do because of DJ not kissing a black girl [in season seven]. So that’s important to me,” Barr told THR. “I like diversity, and it’s so much a part of the working class where it is not so much part of middle-class stuff. And I know so many people who have mixed families.”
In the aftermath of the Valerie Jarrett tweet, the backlash against Roseanne Barr has been swift. Within hours after she posted the ill-fated tweet about Jarrett, her sitcom was canceled and her talent agency, ICM Partners, dropped her. In addition, Viacom networks and Hulu pulled Roseanne reruns off the air.
You can see Jayden Rey in a scene from the Roseanne revival below.