Roseanne Barr wants you to know that she ain’t dead.
The shamed comedian, whose racist tweets about Valerie Jarrett led to her revived TV show being canned, took to the same social-media platform last night to fire off an angry reaction to the opening sequence of The Conners, in which it was revealed her character died of an opioid overdose.
Roseanne, who was forced to give up her intellectual-property rights to the characters she created before ABC would make the new series, issued a calmer and more thoughtful statement a few hours later on Facebook, penned with the help of her longtime friend and spiritual adviser Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.
“While we wish the very best for the cast and production crew of The Conners, all of whom are deeply dedicated to their craft and were Roseanne’s cherished colleagues, we regret that ABC chose to cancel Roseanne by killing off the Roseanne Conner character. That it was done through an opioid overdose lent an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show.”
The statement described Roseanne’s opioid death as “a choice the network did not have to make,” saying, “It is often following an inexcusable—but not unforgivable—mistake that we can discover the most important lesson of all: forgiveness. 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. In a hyper-partisan climate, people will sometimes make the mistake of speaking with words that do not truly reflect who they are. However, it is the power of forgiveness that defines our humanity.
“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.”
Barr has previously expressed her outrage at the manner of her character’s death, saying: “They have her die of an opioid overdose. I wanted to show [opioid struggle] in the show, but I was never going to have Roseanne die of an opioid overdose. She should have died as a hero or not at all… It wasn’t enough to [fire me], they had to so cruelly insult the people who loved that family and that show.”