Roseanne Barr has a lengthy list of controversies over her decades in the business. Though the scandals show no sign of stopping, after the cancellation of her Roseanne revival the comic has had little-to-no platform to let ‘er rip. One cannot have controversies without an audience, which, apart from her active YouTube Channel, Barr has lost almost entirely. Until now.
With the release of her Reelz documentary Roseanne: Kicked Out of Hollywood, she’s back, spewing her Trump rhetoric and blasting all the haters. The film, which wastes no time making a martyr of the actress, allows Barr to take one final stand against her cancellation. The likes of Mo’Nique, Howie Mandel and her Roseanne executive producer Allan Stephan all participate, offering kind words about their pal while she also defends herself.
For the most part, Barr spends her hour and a half attempting to reconcile her racist tweet aimed at White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. “I shoulda not did it, but by God, I was really pissed that day,” Barr says. Returning to her original defense—the pills made her do it—she continues: “I did something I wouldn’t do if I hadn’t been on that Ambien. It makes you do a lot of crazy shit.”
The original tweet, which resulted in the swift cancellation of the Roseanne reboot, read “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj” in a response to another tweet about Jarrett. In the doc, Barr and her closest allies unpack the night as it unfolded, starting with her attempting to “do the worst thing” she could do to piss off her producers.
Soon after, Barr received a phone call. Johnny Argent, the star’s longtime boyfriend, recalls hearing her shout, “Racist?! Iran isn’t a fucking race, you fucking idiot!”
Barr says that just 40 minutes after the tweet, her show was canceled. “I was called a racist,” she says in the doc, more upset with the world than herself. “It was politically expedient for them to shit on my name.”
Everyone interviewed in the doc continues to use the same excuse: Barr simply thought that Jarrett was white, and the Planet of the Apes comment was about anarchy in the Middle East. Sure. Still, her boyfriend pleads that “there’s not a racist bone in this woman’s body.”
After the tweet was unleashed, Barr attempted to clean up after herself by blaming Ambien, claiming that she didn’t know Jarrett’s race, and demanding to go on The View. But it was no use: Barr would be killed off of her own show, which was later spun into The Conners.
“Witch-burning is what it is,” Barr says. “Intellectual witch-burning, and arrogance and ignorance. All of the press of the United States and the world, how they interpreted my tweet without any knowledge of the fact that I was sending it to a journalist in Iran about what was happening to the people in Iran. We’re under such terrible censorship. It’s just terrible and frightening.”
As much as Barr would like to pin the dilemma on “witch-burning,” the fact is, her family and coworkers apparently attempted to yank the phone from her grip to get her to stop tweeting. While the comic spent every day of the 2016 election publicly expressing her loyalty to Donald Trump, the production team behind Roseanne would repeatedly tell her to take tweets down.
“Everyone was begging me to give up my Twitter. Everyone,” Barr recalls. “My kids were trying to lock me out, but I wouldn’t! Because it’s like, I just couldn’t. I’m a goddamn American, I’m not going to do it. I’m a comic, I’m a bad girl, I’m too rock ’n’ roll. I’m going to say fuck it and fuck you ’til I take my last breath.”
Naturally, coming into the writers’ room guns a-blazin’, issues arose around every corner for the staff. Argent claims that the writers’ room “would not accept” Barr’s pro-Trump mentality, and others who worked on the production side claim that she was a “volatile character” and that “a lot of people had a difficult time with her.”
All in all, it definitely sounds like there were many factors leading up to the cancellation of Roseanne and the removal of Barr from her series. Diehard fans, however, shouldn’t worry:Yyou can still catch the comic whining about honey and interviewing staunch conservatives on her free YouTube channel.
Or, perhaps, check out Roseanne: Kicked Out of Hollywood, which will air on Reelz on April 24 at 8 p.m. ET.