Roseanne Barr is having second thoughts about apologizing to Valerie Jarrett—and is still convinced that she didn’t do anything wrong.
On Thursday evening, the renowned comedienne addressed the tweet seen ’round the world during a live podcast taping with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach at Stand Up NY, an intimate comedy club on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
When Boteach, a friend of Barr’s, asked her, “You apologized to [Jarrett] because you’d recognized that you had wronged her. Is that right?” the comic refused to play along.
“Well, I recognize that she thinks I wronged her,” replied Barr. “I’m sorry that anyone thought that that was a racist and not a political tweet, because it was in fact a political tweet and not a racist tweet whatsoever. I can talk about it till I’m blue in the face and they’re never going to accept it, and I accept that.”
She continued, “All my friends said, your mistake was to apologize to the Left because when they see blood in the water, they’re going to come until you’re dead. And I think that’s kind of true.”
The semi-confession was met with a mixture of cheers and hisses.
On May 29, Barr fired off a tweet that read, “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” with the VJ denoting Valerie Jarrett, who’d served as senior adviser to former president Obama. After a torrent of outrage over the unmistakably racist tweet, and after issuing an apology to Jarrett, Barr was not only fired from her hit sitcom, Roseanne, but the show was canceled entirely by ABC.
After two months in hiding, Barr has resurfaced over the past week—in an apparent effort to counter any questions Jarrett will be asked about the notorious tweet during her book tour. During an appearance on The View on Wednesday, Jarrett was asked what she hoped Barr would say during her appearance on Sean Hannity’s program Thursday night. “Less is more, don’t you think?” she said, adding, “I won’t be watching. I hope you all won’t be watching either.”
Barr acknowledged that she’d seen Jarrett’s segment on The View, telling Shmuley of the Hannity sit-down, “She said, ‘No, and I hope no one else does either’—you know, because she’s into teachable moments,” before catching herself. “I’m sorry, I’m such a bitch. But I did invite her on Sean Hannity tonight. He told me to say stuff like you’re saying, and I would love to have a conversation with [Jarrett]. I would love it. We could turn it into a teachable moment and talk about the Iran deal and our difference of opinion on that subject.”
Over the course of the talk, Barr repeatedly branded herself “a revolutionary” and claimed that she told ABC she was on Twitter to “defend” and “advance the interests of Israel.” But she also refused—over and over again—to accept that she’d done anything wrong.
“I couldn’t figure out what had happened and why it happened, because it didn’t make any sense. It wasn’t what I had said or meant,” Barr said of her tweet and the subsequent backlash. “It was terrifying and depressing. It was the end of the world—and my life’s work.”
“The way they painted it all…” Barr said, trailing off. “In my own defense, if you put 30 years of what I’ve done and accomplished as far as breaking down stereotypes and walls between people and hatred, and you put it on a scale with, say, five tweets, because there are about five that they hate me for, I think the balance is more toward the good.”