The president of ABC Entertainment said Tuesday the network has decided to pull the plug on Roseanne amid a backlash over controversial comments made by the show’s 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 to Urban Hollywood 411.
The network’s decision came shortly after Barr tweeted racially-charged comments Tuesday about Valerie Jarrett, a top adviser to former President Barack Obama.
Disney CEO Bob Iger said he backed the decision to cancel the show.
“There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing,” Iger tweeted.
From Channing Dungey, President of ABC Entertainment: "Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show."
There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.
— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) May 29, 2018
In a now deleted tweet, Barr – an avid supporter of President Donald Trump – said Jarrett was an offspring of Islamist organization Muslim Brotherhood and the movie Planet of the Apes.
Jarrett was born in Iran and is African-American.
“Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” Barr wrote using Jarrett’s initials as she responded to a tweet about the former White House aide.
After some Twitter users told her the tweet was racist, Barr apologized, saying she was leaving Twitter and that her comment about Jarrett was a “joke.”
The outspoken comedian also said sorry for lashing out at former first daughter Chelsea Clinton. But her apology included even more offensive comments when she called billionaire Democratic donor George Soros – who is Jewish – a “Nazi.”
Barr initially wrote on Twitter: “Chelsea Clinton Soros.”
After Clinton corrected her, Barr went on a bizarre, anti-Semitic tirade about Soros.
“Sorry to have tweeted incorrect info about you!” she replied to Clinton. “Please forgive me! By the way, George Soros is a Nazi who turned in his fellow Jews 2 be murdered in German concentration camps & stole their wealth – were you aware of that? But we all make mistakes, right Chelsea?”
Sara Gilbert, a member of the cast and an executive producer on the show, took to Twitter to express her sadness over Barr’s comments and the cancellation of the show.
“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,” she tweeted.
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.
— sara gilbert (@THEsaragilbert) May 29, 2018
Danny Deraney, founder of Deraney Public Relations and an expert on crisis management, said ABC made the right decision to distance itself from Barr, particularly since this wasn’t her first offense.
“I’m not surprised at all,” Deraney said. “I would be shocked if there wasn’t some type of contingency plan in place… something must have been in place, just in case she went overboard.”
He also noted the show’s cancellation will affect many more people than just the main stars.
“It’s unfortunate because this is ABC. There’s a lot of cast and crew. There’s people who don’t make six, seven figures per episode on the show,” he explained.
“These are people who are blue collar, maybe starting their first job… This is their career. It’s their livelihood. Because of one person’s terrible comments, now they are all affected,” he added. “Hopefully ABC can put a lot of these folks back to work.”
One Roseanne employee who seemingly had enough was Wanda Sykes, who worked as a consulting producer on the sitcom.
“I will not be returning to @RoseanneOnABC,” Sykes tweeted Tuesday before ABC announced it was canceling the show.
I will not be returning to @RoseanneOnABC.
— Wanda Sykes (@iamwandasykes) May 29, 2018
ABC renewed Roseanne for a second season in March, after the reboot premiered to huge ratings.