ABC cancels 'Roseanne' after Roseanne Barr tweets racist 'joke'
Roseanne was one of the most beloved sitcoms of the 90's, exploring the real problems of a working class family in Middle America. Last season, ABC brought back the show for an eight-episode 'revival,' which made headlines for its politics. Roseanne and Dan Conner were revealed as Trump supporters, while other family members were more liberal. Some viewers liked the show's focus on politics, believing it portrayed the real, polarizing arguments that families have in 2018. Other viewers disagreed, believing the Conners would have never voted for Donald Trump. They felt the reboot, as writer Roxanne Gay put it, was "normalizing Trump and his warped, harmful political ideologies."
Whether you loved it or hated it, the Roseanne revival was a huge success, getting monster ratings. However, now ABC has abruptly canceled the show, after Roseanne tweeted a racist "joke" about Valerie Jarrett, a former Obama administration advisor. The comedian's political rants have courted controversy before on Twitter, but this time, a "joke" crossed the line. In response to a post about Valerie Jarrett, an African-American woman who was born in Iran, Roseanne tweeted, "muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj."
Roseanne deleted the tweet quickly, then posted an apology, 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." Then she followed that up with a tweet saying "I apologize. I am now leaving Twitter."
But the damage was done. Roseanne's racist tweet got a huge backlash, from her co-star Sara Gilbert, fellow celebrities, political figures, and more. The show's current head writer, Wanda Sykes, tweeted she would not return for the next season. Some critics called for ABC to take action, and criticized the network for their silence. "In the pre-Trump era, ABC would have taken action against @therealroseanne by breakfast," tweeted CNN contributor Dan Pfeiffer. "The fact that they haven’t shows how much Trump’s election has mainstreamed repugnant racist views."
In response, ABC has officially cancelled the show. In a statement, ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said, "Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show." Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger voiced his support on Twitter, adding, "There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing."
Series co-star Sara Gilbert, who played Darlene, reacted to the bad news, tweeting, "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 cancellation will surely bum out Roseanne fans, who loved seeing the Conners again, and were anxiously anticipating the 11th season. According to reports, ABC was encouraging the creative team to focus more on family than politics for future episodes. Many viewers will find it unfair the series was canceled after a tweet. But at the same, it's impossible to defend Roseanne's racist "joke." Followers of the comedian know she's posted controversial content before - if only she had quit Twitter a week ago.