In the immediate aftermath of comedian and fringe right-wing conspiracist Roseanne Barr’s flagrantly racist tweet about former Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett in which Barr likened the African-American woman to an ape, ABC and Disney maintained radio silence over the sitcom star’s online behavior. NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell, meanwhile, wondered aloud what exactly it would take for a highly-rated network star to face repercussions for promoting racism.
Speaking to MSNBC host Joy Reid — who is co-hosting a Tuesday night MSNBC forum on racism that will actually feature Jarrett — Mitchell brought up Barr’s tweet and asked Reid when would enough be enough for ABC execs.
“Now she has apologized, saying I’m truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and looks — I should have known better. My joke was in bad taste,” Mitchell noted, bringing up Barr’s statement of apology. “What do you have to do on social media to get fired from a top-rated show on an American broadcast network?”
Of course, many will see more than a little bit of irony here that Mitchell is asking Reid this question, considering the firestorm of controversy that surrounded Reid following the resurfacing of old homophobic blog posts that Reid insisted were the result of hacking and manipulation. Reid has maintained that she still doesn’t believe she wrote the posts but has admitted that her security experts couldn’t prove that to be the case.
Anyway, Reid noted that Barr’s apology shows that the comic legend admitted that her “joke” was racist as she pointed out it was about Jarrett’s appearance, noting that former First Lady Michelle Obama was also targeted in the past with racist jokes about how she looked like an ape. Reid went on to highlight that much of Roseanne’s fanbase support Trump and feel you “should be able to speak this way.”
“The question is whether or not the fanbase that she has now developed — which is very, very much aligned with the president’s base — if it’s millions of people are still watching her show, the question is whether or not they are considered to be more valuable than the people upset and rightfully offended by her tweet,” Reid concluded. “That’s the question that ABC has to answer.”
Mitchell ended the segment by declaring that the tweet is “called racism.”
While ABC is still waiting to respond to Barr’s hateful tweets, Roseanne consulting producer Wanda Sykes has announced she will not return to for the show’s second season. Also, Roseanne star and producer Sara Gilbert tweeted out that she was “disappointed” in Barr’s “abhorrent” actions and they do not reflect the views of the show or cast.
Roseanne’s recent comments about Valerie Jarrett, and so much more, are abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our cast and crew or anyone associated with our show. I am disappointed in her actions to say the least.
— sara gilbert (@THEsaragilbert) May 29, 2018
UPDATE: ABC has announced they have canceled the show.
Watch the clip above, via MSNBC.