ABC did “the worst thing they could have possibly done to me…to fire me from my own show,” Roseanne Barr complained to Vice News Tonight, in an interview it’s airing tonight right before ABC’s unveiling of The Conners.
In a pre-taped interview airing on HBO, Barr paints herself as a victim, describing to Vice the “emotional and psychological impact of going from stratospheric stardom to being completely de-platformed,” as Vice put it.
“I don’t keep in touch with anyone on the show. I’ve been removed from the process of my life’s work. It’s like the worst thing they could have possibly done to me, was to fire me from my own show and let other people write my life story,” Barr complained.
This time, she is describing what happened thusly:
“I was a my moms’ house at Salt Lake and I was very happy and my show was No. 1 after 20 years – and not just be No. 1 but 28M people watched it. So I was in happy place.”
She said she went to bed, woke up at 2:11 AM, “tweeted that tweet” and went back to sleep.
“When I woke up in the morning it was all over the news and I was like, ‘Uh oh.’ And [the tweet] was characterized as racist, which made my stomach fall to my feet.”
ABC called, she said, and asked her, “What possible excuse can you have for something you’ve done which is unforgivable’ and some other word I can’t remember,” Roseanne described.
“I said, ‘I’ll be happy to go on all the ABC shows and explain it, and apologize’. They said ‘no,’ I wasn’t allowed to do that.”
“Not too long after that, my mom was watching TV and saw that it was canceled. And that was just the beginning,” Roseanne added, dramatically.
The tweet that caused ABC to abruptly cancel Barr’s hit comedy series revival, came just days after the network made her the star of its Upfront presentation to advertisers.
Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, Barr tweeted, calling former President Barack Obama adviser Valeria Jarrett an offspring of the “Muslim Brotherhood & Planet of the Apes.”
In her initial tweet about Jarrett, Barr referred to her as “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” It was in response to a tweet referencing a Wikileaks claim that the CIA during Obama’s term in office spied on French presidential candidates.
In response to blow-back calling the tweet racist, Barr tweeted, “Muslims r not a race.” Jarrett, an African-American, was born in Iran to American parents.
Later, when the situation began to impress itself upon her, Barr tweeted that the original tweet was “a bad joke about [Jarrett’s] politics and her looks” adding, “I should have known better. Forgive me-my joke was in bad taste.”
Except it wasn’t the first time Barr had called an African-American woman an “ape”. In 2013, she called Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice “a man with big swinging ape balls.”
After cancelling Roseanne, ABC agreed in June to a spinoff called The Conners, starring same original cast members except Barr, after she agreed to have no financial or creative participation in the series. In a statement, Barr said she agreed to the settlement “in order that 200 jobs of beloved cast and crew could be saved, and I wish the best for everyone involved.”
These days, Barr told Vice, “I’ve got a lot of time for real life, real-life stuff. Like, just going for a walk with my mom and having an ice cream cone. Stuff like that. Waiting in lines, I’ve really been sleeping a lot, like, probably 17 hours a day.”
“There is a back story to everybody who creates something. The pain of living life and things you may have gone through to create that joke, or situation, or family,” Barr said, describing herself.
“Everybody knows I have struggled with mental health issues and I was struggling at that time as well,” she added.
She described herself when she tweeted: ‘I was impaired and stupid and mistaken and wrong. And for that I apologized.”
“I don’t let words hurt me, what other people say,” Barr said in apparent reference to execs at ABC/Disney. “That’s about the person who is saying it, not about me. I’m not what they think I am, and I know that.”
“I know who I am, and they’re wrong.”