Roseanne Barr Returns to Twitter, Says Cancellation Due to "Threatened" Advertiser "Boycott"
The comedian insisted she isn't racist and blamed her Jarrett tweet on Ambien.
Roseanne Barr was back on Twitter on Tuesday night trying to defend herself, hours after she said she would leave the platform in the wake of racist tweets aimed at Valerie Jarrett that led to ABC canceling her revived sitcom Roseanne.
Barr went on a tweet storm late Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, retweeting dozens of supportive messages from her followers, who continued to peddle conspiracy theories questioning Jarrett's ethnicity and heritage. She also repeatedly thanked those who expressed their support. As with the Jarrett tweet, many of Barr's comments were replies to others' tweets.
The comedian tweeted two direct apologies at Jarrett as well as a plea to her fans: "Don't feel sorry for me, guys!!-I just want to apologize to the hundreds of people, and wonderful writers (all liberal) and talented actors who lost their jobs on my show due to my stupid tweet."
Barr added that she will address the controversy Friday on Joe Rogan's podcast.
As well as two further apologies to Jarrett, Barr released a statement on Twitter, which read: "I deeply regret my comments from late last night on Twitter. Above all, I want to apologize to Valerie Jarrett, as well as to ABC and the cast and crew of the Roseanne show. I am sorry for making a thoughtless joke that does not reflect my values - I love all people and am very sorry. Today my words caused hundreds of people to lose their jobs. I also sincerely apologize to the audience that has embraced my work for decades. I apologize from the bottom of my heart and hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me."
In a follow-up tweet, Barr blamed her Jarrett comment on "ambien tweeting." "[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," she tweeted.
She clarified later that she wasn't blaming Ambien, but using being on the drug as an explanation for what happened."I blamed myself," she wrote in part in a reply to a user. "Yes, I have had odd ambien experiences on tweeting late at night-like many other ppl do. I BLAME MYSELF OK? it's just an explanation not an excuse, Ok, bully?"
She also insisted she wasn't racist and wasn't trying to make a racist comment with her Jarrett remark. "I honestly thought she was Jewish and Persian-ignorant of me for sure, but...I did." She later indicated, in multiple replies, that she didn't know Jarrett is black. "I mistakenly thought she was white," she wrote.
When asked by someone if she was in fact leaving Twitter, as she'd claimed earlier in the day, Barr wrote, "no."
She also fired back at Michael Fishman and Sara Gilbert's statements. To Fishman, she wrote, "i created the platform for that inclusivity and you know http://it.ME . You throw me under the bus. nice!" With Gilbert, she initially wrote, "Wow! unreal." A few hours later, she added, "I understand her position and why she said what she said. i forgive her. It just shocked me a bit, but I indeed fucked up. ... She's distancing herself from me and my tweet-she has to."
And Barr argued that the cancellation was due to a threatened advertiser boycott and tied to Wanda Sykes' announcement that she was leaving the show. "I heard it was bc of a threatened boycott of the show's advertisers by ppl who do that sort of thing," she wrote in reply to a Twitter user who asked, "What pressure, exactly, did ABC receive that they immediately denied 18+million people the choice to watch or not?" She also claimed that Sykes' tweet, "made ABC very nervous and they cancelled the show."
And she wrote, "I think I know what really happened. It has made me mad, but as I told u-i would leave when they started to try to censor me, so it all worked out." In another reply early Wednesday morning, Barr added, "I gave them the weapon to kill me-I was not equipped to take all the heat. I cracked & made a stupid insensitive joke-it's my fault."
Earlier Tuesday, Barr attacked Jarrett, a senior adviser to former President Barack Obama, in a since-deleted tweet in which she said "Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj."
Following growing outrage, Barr tweeted that her comments about Jarrett were a "joke" and that she would leave Twitter. "I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans. 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," she tweeted. Barr claimed late Tuesday night that she posted that apology after the show was canceled, in response to some, like MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, who claimed it was a network forced apology.
ABC responded by canceling her massively successful revival and its Emmy "For Your Consideration" campaign, while talent agency ICM dropped Barr as a client and Viacom networks Paramount Network, TV Land and CMT canceled upcoming reruns of the revival series.
Jarrett herself weighed in on MSNBC's town hall Everyday Racism in America later on Tuesday, saying she hoped that the tweet and ensuing outcry would be "a teaching moment."
July 27, 4:48 p.m. This story initially claimed author Thomas Wictor is an alt-right figure. He does not identify with that term. The Hollywood Reporter regrets the error.