NEW YORK (AP) — ABC has cancelled its hit reboot of "Roseanne" following her racist tweet about former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett.
ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey says the comment "is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel the show."
The "Roseanne" revival this spring was an unexpected major hit for ABC. Its first new episode in March was seen by more than 25 million people, with delayed viewing counted in, numbers that are increasingly rare in network television.
ABC expected advertisers to pay millions of dollars for the chance to be seen during commercial breaks on television's most popular comedy after "The Big Bang Theory." It was particularly popular among many conservative viewers because Barr's character expressed support for President Donald Trump.
Experts who spoke with Circa say the show's high ratings were a result of several factors besides the character's politics: nostalgia, star power, politics, and quality.
And it was all killed in a 53-character tweet.
Barr herself has a history of diving into political conspiracy theories on her Twitter feed, and she ended her Memorial Day weekend with a series of statements. She criticized Democratic financier George Soros and tweeted that Chelsea Clinton was "Chelsea Soros Clinton," implying she was married to a nephew of Soros. Clinton herself corrected Barr online. Donald Trump Jr. retweeted two of Barr's statements about Soros, although not the remark about Jarrett.
Jarrett, who is black, was brought up in response to Twitter commentary that raised her name in relation to an Obama conspiracy theory. Barr tweeted: "muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj." Barr's tweet suggested that Jarrett is a product of the Muslim brotherhood and the "Planet of the Apes."
She later apologized "for making a bad joke."
Barr was quickly condemned. Comic Wanda Sykes, a "Roseanne" writer, tweeted that she wouldn't be returning to the show. Sara Gilbert, a co-star, also tweeted that the remark was abhorrent.
It was a quick decision at ABC for Dungey, who is the first African-American to serve as programming chief for one of the major broadcast networks, and her boss, network president Ben Sherwood. Disney chief executive Robert Iger tweeted his approval: "There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing."
Three weeks earlier, "Roseanne" was the toast of ABC's annual presentation of its programming plans to advertisers. Sherwood even joked then: "If anyone came to play a drinking game based on how many times we mention 'Roseanne,' you're welcome."
ABC has lately downplayed the show's political angle. Dungey three weeks ago suggested the show next season would focus more on family than politics.
The NAACP applauded ABC's actions on Tuesday.
"Roseanne Barr's comments were appalling and reminiscent of horrific time in our history when racism was not only acceptable but promoted by Hollywood," said Derrick Johnson, NAACP president and CEO. "We applaud ABC for taking a stand against racism by canceling 'Roseanne.' We commend the network and ... Dungey for placing the values of diversity, inclusion and respect for humanity above ratings."
Barr got what she deserved, said Shonda Rhimes, creator of hit ABC shows like "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal."
"As I tell my 4-year-old, one makes a choice with one's actions," Rhimes tweeted. "Roseanne made a choice. A racist one. ABC made a choice. A human one."
ICM dropped Barr within hours of the cancellation, saying in a statement that the agency was "greatly distressed by the disgraceful and unacceptable" tweet. Bruce Helford, executive producer of "Roseanne," said he was "personally horrified and saddened by the comments and in no way do they reflect the values of the people who worked so hard to make this the iconic show that it is."
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NEW YORK (AP) — Roseanne Barr has apologized for suggesting that former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett is a product of the Muslim Brotherhood and the "Planet of the Apes."
Barr on Tuesday tweeted to Jarrett that she was sorry "for making a bad joke" about her politics and her looks. Jarrett, who is African-American, advised Barack and Michelle Obama.
Barr's now-deleted tweet read: "muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj." It was part of a busy period on Twitter for Barr, who wrote tweets or retweeted attacks on Michael Moore, Chelsea Clinton and George Soros. In her apology, Barr said the Jarret comment was "in bad taste."
ABC, which produces Barr's show "Roseanne," didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.