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ABC cancels ‘Roseanne’ after racist tweets

ABC cancels 'Roseanne' after racist tweets
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What we covered here

  • ABC canceled “Roseanne” after a racist Twitter rant by its star.
  • In a statement, the network said, “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”
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ABC canceled "Roseanne" today. Here's how it happened.

ABC canceled its hit sitcom “Roseanne” on Tuesday after the show’s biggest star, Roseanne Barr, went on a racist Twitter rant.

“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” ABC said.

In one of the tweets, Barr wrote, “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” Barr was responding to a comment about Valerie Jarrett, a top former aide to President Obama.

Barr had earlier apologized and said she was “now leaving Twitter.”

The cancellation comes just months after the show premiered to huge ratings.

Valerie Jarrett on Roseanne Barr's tweet: "We have to turn it into a teaching moment"

Valerie Jarrett, a top former aide to President Obama, responded today to Roseanne Barr’s racist tweet about her.

“We have to turn it into a teaching moment,” Jarrett told MSNBC.

ABC canceled its hit sitcom “Roseanne” today after Barr went on a racist Twitter rant. In one of the tweets, Barr wrote, “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” Barr was responding to a comment about Jarrett.

Barr claimed she was joking, but then she deleted the tweet and issued an apology to Jarrett and “all Americans.”

White House not commenting on "Roseanne" cancellation

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders repeatedly declined to comment on the cancellation of “Roseanne” and its star’s racist tweets.

“The President has been extremely focused, as I just walked through the things going on with the upcoming summit,” she told reporters aboard Air Force One.

Pressed again given the President’s previous comments on the show, Sanders said, “Again, the President spent his day focused with things going on this morning.”

She continued, “That’s not what the President is looking at. That’s not what he’s spending his time on and we have a lot of bigger things going on in the country right now.”

CNN's Brian Stelter: ABC couldn't have "Roseanne" without Roseanne Barr

ABC’s decision to cancel “Roseanne” came quickly today, CNN’s Brian Stelter reports, since it was impossible to keep the show without its title character.

“Right away, Disney and ABC executives agreed they had to pull the plug from this show,” Stelter said.

Roseanne's on-screen granddaughter: "Bullies will NEVER win"

Actress Emma Kenney (left) just tweeted about the show's cancellation.

Emma Kenny, who played the granddaughter of Roseanne Barr’s character, says she was in the process of quitting “Roseanne” when she learned the show had been canceled.

She said she feels empowered by Wanda Sykes, who announced she quit the show just before news of the cancellation broke.

The first run of "Roseanne" was filled with controversy, too

Roseanne Barr is no stranger to controversy, and her prior association with ABC was punctuated by tumult, including an all-but-legendary level of turnover among those who were charged with overseeing her series.

Famously, one of the early producers, Jeff Harris, took out a full-page ad in Variety when he left the show, saying that he had decided to take a vacation “in the relative peace and quiet of Beirut.”

At another point, Barr issued numbered jerseys to the writing staff, which some took as a message about how disposable they were perceived to be.

There were also several high-profile clashes between the star and the network. During contract negotiations in 1993, she went on “The Tonight Show” and publicly threatened to take the show to a rival broadcaster.

How celebrities are reacting to "Roseanne" being canceled

Hollywood celebrities took to Twitter following the decision by ABC to cancel “Roseanne” over its star’s racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, a top former aide to President Obama.

Here’s what they are saying:

The ratings for the "Roseanne" reboot were huge

Back after a 21-year hiatus, the “Roseanne” reboot notched 25 million viewers total when it first premiered earlier this year, according to Nielsen’s TV ratings.

The high ratings accounted for three days of time-shifted viewing – that is, people watching on DVRs and on demand.

The first episodes of the series brought in TV’s highest ratings in the advertiser-coveted 18-to-49 demographic for any comedy telecast since 2014. 

They also topped the show’s original finale 21 years ago by 10% in total viewers, a remarkable accomplishment at a time when ratings across TV have fallen precipitously.

Ratings slipped in the second week of episodes of the reboot, with an average of 15.2 million people tuning in.

Disney CEO: "There was only one thing to do here"

Robert Iger, the chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, called Roseanne Barr’s tweets “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values.”

“There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing,” he tweeted.

Disney owns ABC.

Trump praised Roseanne Barr's ratings at a March rally

Trump speaks to a crowd gathered in Richfield, Ohio, on March 29.

President Trump, speaking at a March rally in Ohio, mentioned “Roseanne” and it’s ratings.

 “Look at Roseanne — look at her ratings,” Trump told the crowd in Richfield on March 29.

Trump said he first took a phone call earlier that day from the producer of his “Apprentice” series Mark Burnett, who asked whether he’d seen Roseanne’s ratings.

“They were unbelievable,” Trump said. “Over 18 million people. And it was about us.”

Trump said the mainstream media hadn’t yet “figured it out yet.”

Here's what Roseanne tweeted

Barr is notorious for tweeting about pro-Trump conspiracy theories and other controversial topics. This week she repeatedly attacked prominent Democrats. 

In one of the tweets, she wrote, “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”

Barr was responding to a comment about Valerie Jarrett, a top former aide to President Obama. She later deleted the tweet and tweeted an apology to Jarrett and “all Americans.”

Barr also made comments on Twitter about Chelsea Clinton, tweeting this yesterday:

Soros is a billionaire liberal benefactor who has been the subject to many right-wing conspiracy theories over the years.

Clinton responded to Barr shortly after. 

“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,” she wrote. 

Barr responded back to Clinton saying, “Sorry to have tweeted incorrect info about you! Please forgive me!”

She then continued, “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?”

ABC cancels 'Roseanne' after star's racist tweets

ABC canceled its hit sitcom “Roseanne” on Tuesday after the show’s biggest star, Roseanne Barr, went on a racist Twitter rant.

“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” ABC said. The cancellation comes just months after the show premiered to huge ratings.

Barr had earlier apologized and said she was “now leaving Twitter.”

Here's how the show's cast reacted to the rant

Following Barr’s Twitter rant, one of the show’s consulting producers, Wanda Sykes, said she’s done with the show.

And Sara Gilbert, who plays Barr’s daughter on the ABC sitcom, tweeted that Barr’s comments are “abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our cast and crew or anyone associated with our show.”

Gilbert added:

How ABC handled Roseanne's tweets in the past

ABC executives have privately said that they hold their noses when Barr tweets. They know some of her posts have been problematic – full of pro-Trump conspiracy theories that mislead her fans.

The executives want Barr to focus on her show. But they seem to take the position that there’s no controlling Barr, and that’s what makes her the successful comic she is.

ABC employees shared these views on condition of anonymity earlier this year, before the current Twitter controversy.