Roseanne Barr has issued a statement about the premiere of The Conners, blasting her former network ABC for the “grim” demise of her character on “an otherwise happy family show.” On The Conners, which premiered Tuesday, it was revealed that the iconic character was killed off by an overdose of prescription pain pills following her knee surgery.
The former ABC star and her spiritual advisor, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, issued a joint statement to Facebook shortly after the premiere episode of the Roseanne spinoff, reiterating that while they wish no ill will to the cast and crew of The Conners, they don’t support the “morbid” turn the show took by killing off the Conner matriarch at a time when the country needs strong leading women.
“This was a choice the network did not have to make. Roseanne was the only show on television that directly addressed the deep divisions threatening the very fabric of our society. Specifically, the show promoted the message that love and respect for one another’s personhood should transcend differences in background and ideological discord. The show brought together characters of different political persuasions and ethnic backgrounds in one, unified family, a rarity in modern American entertainment. Above all else, the show celebrated a strong, matriarchal woman in a leading role, something we need more of in our country.”
In the lengthy statement, Barr and Boteach also called out ABC for refusing to forgive the longtime Roseanne star after she posted the offensive tweet that led to her firing earlier this year, despite her many apologies for her mistake.
“After repeated and heartfelt apologies, the network was unwilling to look past a regrettable mistake, thereby denying the twin American values of both repentance and forgiveness,” the statement continued.
“Our society needs to heal on many levels. What better way for healing than a shared moment, once a week, where we could have all enjoyed a compelling storyline featuring a witty character – a woman – who America connected with, not in spite of her flaws, but because of them. The cancellation of Roseanne is an opportunity squandered due in equal parts to fear, hubris, and a refusal to forgive.”
Roseanne Barr agreed to walk away from all creative control of the Roseanne spinoff after she was fired by ABC, but she has been vocal about her unhappiness over how the network chose to write her character off in The Conners spinoff.
Nearly a month before The Conners premiere, Barr even spoiled the storyline about her character’s passing in an interview with Brandon Straka on his YouTube show, Walk Away, revealing, “They had her die of an opioid overdose.”
At the time, Barr slammed producers for killing off her character in such a way, calling it cruel and “an insult” to longtime fans of the original Roseanne series.
“It’s so cynical and horrible — she should have died as a hero,” Barr said, calling her character’s overdose death “cruel” and “an insult” to longtime fans of the original Roseanne series.
Barr revealed it had been her idea to have her character become addicted to opioids to treat her chronic knee pain in the Season 10 Roseanne episode, “Netflix & Pill.” But the fallen ABC star said she never expected her character to succumb to her addiction.
As the Inquisitr previously shared, The Conners executive producer Tom Werner stands by the decision to kill off Roseanne’s character, not as a revenge against the fallen ABC star but instead to draw awareness to the country’s opioid epidemic.
While she doesn’t agree with how the Conner matriarch was written out of the spinoff series, Barr stated she had no plans to “curse” or “bless” the new show. The former Roseanne star previously revealed plans to relocate to Israel and said she wouldn’t be tuning in to The Conners premiere.
“I’m staying neutral,” Barr said last month, per the Hollywood Reporter. “That’s what I do…Not wishing bad on anyone and I don’t wish good for my enemies. I don’t. I can’t. I just stay neutral. That’s what I gotta do. ”
The original Roseanne series ran from 1988 to 1997 on ABC. A top-rated revival of the sitcom premiered in March of this year, but a second season was promptly axed after Barr posted an inappropriate tweet aimed at former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett in May.
You can see Roseanne Barr’s final scene as the Conner matriarch on Roseanne below.
The Conners airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.