The far-ranging conversation, which reportedly took place shortly after Barr was booted from her namesake television show in the wake of a controversial Twitter remark, reveals an emotional reaction by Barr to accusations of racism. It also touched on politics, Judaism, and forgiveness.
Boteach is a conservative spiritual advisor to several celebrities, including, at one time, Michael Jackson. He also hosted the television series Shalom in the Home for two seasons on the TLC network. He is a frequent media commentator and guest and has hosted his own radio shows for WABC, but has made controversial remarks about homosexuality that drew fire from some quarters.
The Roseanne conversation renewed a 20-year relationship between Boteach and the comedian. After starting off talking about religious interpretations, they dived into the Twitter controversy that has put Bar into exile.
“It’s really hard to say this but, I didn’t mean what they think I meant,’ Barr said. “And that’s what’s so painful. But I have to face that it hurt people. When you hurt people, even unwillingly, there’s no excuse. I don’t want to run off and blather on with excuses. But I apologize to anyone who thought, or felt offended and who thought that I meant something that I, in fact, did not mean. It was my own ignorance, and there’s no excuse for that ignorance. But I didn’t mean it the way they’re saying I meant it. And that’s really weird, too, because if I don’t speak for myself, who will speak for me?”
A sobbing Roseanne tried to define her feelings of remorse, then said, “I have black children in my family. I can’t, I can’t let ‘em say these things about that, after thirty years of my putting my family and my health and my livelihood at risk to stand up for people. I’m a lot of things, a loud mouth and all that stuff. (Crying) But I’m not stupid, for God’s sake. I never would have wittingly called any black person, [I would never had said] they are a monkey. I just wouldn’t do that. I didn’t do that. And people think that I did that and it just kills me. (sobbing) I didn’t do that. And if they do think that, I’m just so sorry that I was so unclear and stupid. I’m very sorry. But I don’t think that and I would never do that. I have loved ones who are African-American, and I just can’t stand it. (Sobbing) I’ve made a huge error and I told ABC when they called me.”
When ABC confronted Barr on her tweet, she claimed they asked what she was thinking about when she made “this egregious and unforgivable thing you said? Now, first of all I had already apologized and removed it by then, cause it wasn’t up very long. You know, sometimes you reread your tweets, especially Memorial Day weekend at 2am, on Ambien. And that’s no excuse, but that is what was real.”
She added, “There’s no excuse. I don’t excuse it. It’s an explanation. I was impaired you know.”
Barr said she “lost everything, and I regretted it before I lost everything. And I said to God, “I am willing to accept whatever consequences this brings, because I know I’ve done wrong. I’m going to accept what the consequences are,” and I do, and I have. But they don’t ever stop. They don’t accept my apology, or explanation. And I’ve made myself a hate magnet. And as a Jew, it’s just horrible. It’s horrible (crying).”
Barr admitted that ABC asked her to get off Twitter when she was hired for the rebooted version of Roseanne, “cause I’m always saying things, right? And I told them, I promise I will get off Twitter, they said, cause you’ll shoot yourself in the foot if you’re on there.” However, Barr related, she would always defend Israel on the service “I told ABC, I have to tell you right now before we sign any papers that I will never stop defending Israel and the Jewish people. I cannot, if I were to do that, I would rather be dead, I can’t do that. So if you want to hire me know that. I will never stop.”
The conversation ended with Barr vowing to reach out personally to Valerie Jarrett, whom she attacked in her tweet, to ask forgiveness.