It seems ABC is taking a big stand against racism. In a statement made on Tuesday afternoon, the network’s president Channing Dungey announced that ABC had canceled Roseanne because of an incredibly racist, horrifying tweet. Despite the controversy surrounding the reboot and its star, Roseanne Barr, the announcement came as a bit of a surprise (considering the reboot’s success). We’re glad that ABC swiftly responded to the tweet and stood by their morals.
The decision to cancel Roseanne came after Barr sent out a racist and Islamophobic tweet on Monday night, where she attacked Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to President Obama, saying, “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” Barr’s tweet was heavily criticized on the social media site, so much so that Barr ended up deleting the tweet and claiming it was a “joke.” She also said she would be “leaving” Twitter for good.
After her comments about Jarrett, Barr went on a tweetstorm where she attacked Chelsea Clinton and George Soros, publicly gave her support for Tommy Robinson (the far-right founder of the English Defense League), and shared various Pizzagate conspiracy theories.
She also tweeted a longer response:
On Tuesday, Dungey released a statement saying, “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant, and inconsistent with our values and we have decided to cancel her show.” A Disney source explained their decision to CNN, saying, “It’s a question of right and wrong. And it’s a question of our company’s values.”
Before ABC officially cancelled the show, many celebrities made it clear that they did not support Barr’s behavior. Wanda Sykes, one of the show’s consulting producers, tweeted, “I will not be returning to @RoseanneOnABC.” Actress Sara Gilbert, who played Barr’s daughter, tweeted her anger and disappointment at Barr’s behavior:
Actress Emma Kenney, who played Roseanne’s granddaughter on the reboot, tweeted that as she was calling her manager to quit, she was told the show was cancelled. She added, “I feel so empowered by @iamwandasykes, Channing Dungey, and anyone at ABC standing up for morals and abuse of power. Bullies will NEVER win.”
On top of that, CNN reported that Barr’s talent agency, ICM Partners, had decided to drop her. In a statement, the agency said, “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.”
This morning, Barr stated that she mistakenly thought Jarrett was “Saudi,” which obviously doesn’t make any of this okay. She also tweeted (it’s since been deleted) that when she wrote those words about Jarrett, she was on Ambien:
“guys I did something unforgiveable so do not defend me. It was 2 in the morning and I was ambien tweeting-it was memorial day too-i went 2 far & do not want it defended-it was egregious Indefensible. I made a mistake I wish I hadn’t but…don’t defend it please. ty”
While there’s no doubt ABC’s decision was the right one, some were surprised, as Roseanne was one of the highest-rated new shows of the season. The premiere episode in March had about 18 million live viewers, and the finale had 10 million, a huge win for ABC. President Donald Trump had tweeted about the show and called Barr to congratulate her and Barr was one of the network’s biggest stars. But Barr’s constant racist and controversial tweets went too far for the network to continue supporting her, and we’re glad they took a stand.