In a now-deleted tweet, Barr wrote: “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” referring to Jarrett, who is black and definitively not Muslim. Before the tweet, Barr starred in the controversial ABC reboot of her ’90s working-class sitcom Roseanne.
Following the tirade, Roseanne consulting producer and stand-up comedian Wanda Sykes announced she will not return to the show. “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, officially nixing her sitcom after only nine episodes. Disney CEO Bob Iger later commented: “There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.”
Barr’s agency ICM Partners announced they’ll drop her as a client: “We are all greatly distressed by the disgraceful and unacceptable tweet from Roseanne Barr this morning. What she wrote is antithetical to our core values, both as individuals and as an agency.”
This wasn’t the first time Barr compared a black Democratic official to an ape. In 2013, she called Obama national security adviser Susan Rice “a man with big swinging ape balls.”
Amid the ensuing outrage, Barr—whose series reboot was initially renewed for a second season after just one episode—defended herself against charges of Islamophobia, writing, “ISLAM is not a RACE, lefties. Islam includes EVERY RACE of people,” and retweeting supportive commentary from similarly pro-Trump users.
Barr’s co-star Sara Gilbert lamented the show’s cancellation: “This is incredibly sad and difficult for all of us, as we’ve created a show that we believe in, are proud of, and that audiences love—one that is separate and apart from the opinions and words of one cast member.”
The ordeal began Tuesday morning when Barr first took aim at right-wing bugaboos George Soros and the Clinton family. Barr falsely claimed Chelsea Clinton is married to Soros’ nephew, and then called her “Chelsea Soros Clinton,” to which Chelsea replied: “Good morning Roseanne - my given middle name is Victoria. I imagine George Soros’s nephews are lovely people. I’m just not married to one.”
“Sorry to have tweeted incorrect info about you! I Please forgive me!” Roseanne shot back. “By the way, George Soros is a nazi who turned in his fellow Jews [to] be murdered in German concentration camps & stole their wealth-were you aware of that? But, we all make mistakes, right Chelsea?”
After several hours of retweeting similarly far-right commentary about the Clintons and Jarrett, Barr finally changed her tune, writing: “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 did not apologize for the false comments about Soros.
She later added: “I am now leaving Twitter.”
This would not be the first time Barr has threatened to quit the social platform. This month, Barr (unironically) said she “must in good conscience leave Twitter” over “toxic” “anti-Semitism,” but then said that “[people] have convinced me [to] stay [with] them here.”
Correction: This article originally described Sykes as a head writer on Roseanne. She is a consulting producer.