Comedian Roseanne Barr has publicly apologised for a racist tweet that labelled a former adviser to president Barack Obama as an ‘ape’ – a reference which prompted broadcaster ABC to cancel her eponymous show.
Claiming to have been under the influence of a sedative at the time of the outburst on Monday (29 May) Barr repeatedly apologised unreservedly for referring to Jarrett as a ‘child’ of the ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ and ‘Planet of the Apes’.
The tweet was sent in response to an online conspiracy theory that Jarrett had helped Obama ‘hide a lot’ in terms of alleged spying on French presidential candidates.
The racists tweets were deleted, however ABC Entertainment had already acted to contain fallout from the episode before the comments disappeared from timelines.
In an abrupt statement, the broadcaster's president, Channing Dungey, said: “Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”
To complete Barr’s fall from grace Viacom confirmed that it was to end repeats of old episodes of the show from its cable networks as of today.
After being fired Barr took to Twitter to explain her actions, pointing out that she had been ‘Ambien tweeting’ at 2am.
guys I did something unforgiveable so do not defend me. It was 2 in the morning and I was ambien tweeting-it was memorial day too-i went 2 far & do not want it defended-it was egregious Indefensible. I made a mistake I wish I hadn't but...don't defend it please. ty
— Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) May 30, 2018
Roseanne’s cancellation will come as a bitter blow for NBC, which had booked $22.7m in advertising revenue for nine episodes of the rebooted Roseanne show, which drew an impressive 18.2 million viewers to its opening episode.
Jason Kanefsky, chief investment officer at Havas Media, commented: "No advertisers would have run in the show anyway. It would have gone on a list where we won't run on it. Today is Starbucks [diversity training day] — no one wants to be part of this mess."
It has estimated that the full cost of the Roseanne racism row could top $60m for the network.