Moving with a speed that surprised many industry observers, ABC has canceled its hit comedy Roseanne following a racist comment tweeted early this morning by star Roseanne Barr.
“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey said in a statement released this afternoon.
“There was only one thing to do here,” Disney CEO Robert Iger added on Twitter, “and that was the right thing.”
Barr, whose beloved comedy was revived earlier this year to blockbuster ratings, tweeted overnight, “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” a reference to Valerie Jarrett, a former adviser to President Obama. The comment ignited immediate backlash, leading Barr to delete the tweet, issue in apology, and pledge, “I am now leaving Twitter.”
“I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans,” she wrote this morning. “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.”
Of course, as many pointed out, the tweet wasn’t a “bad joke about her politics and her looks”; it was an attack that employed centuries-old racist language.
Criticism of Barr wasn’t limited to media pundits, however. Comedian Wanda Sykes announced should wouldn’t return as a consulting producer to Roseanne, and, moments before ABC’s statement, co-star and producer Sara Gilbert released her own condemnation, calling Barr’s comments “abhorrent.”
The decision comes as Roseanne concluded its nine-episode Season 10 revival, which averaged 17.85 million viewers. Although the audience declined from the highs of the season’s first few episodes, the show continued to generate discussion, with Roseanne Conner, like her namesake, being an outspoken supporter of President Trump. ABC had renewed Roseanne for an 11th season in late March.=
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