ABC has canceled its reboot of Roseanne after star Roseanne Barr tweeted a racist comment in which she called Valerie Jarrett, a former top aide to President Barack Obama, an “ape.” The network dumped the show following outrage on social media where “#CancelRoseanne” was trending and where consulting producer Wanda Sykes announced via tweet that she would not return to the smash series, which had already been picked up for another season.
I will not be returning to @RoseanneOnABC.
— Wanda Sykes (@iamwandasykes) May 29, 2018
But given Barr’s unfettered support for Donald Trump in which she’s denied his administration’s anti-LGBT stances, her history of spewing misogynistic conspiracy theories (about Hillary Clinton), and her proven transphobia, it’s not shocking at all that the Roseanne reboot would go up in flames.
"Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” Barr tweeted about Jarrett, which was finally the show’s undoing. But the signs that she would become ever-problematic were there long before the reboot premiered in March.
Barr apologized, but there was no putting the genie back in the bottle this time.
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.
— Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) May 29, 2018
Viewers hungry with nostalgia for the groundbreaking Roseanne of the late ’80s and early ’90s, which depicted one of the first on-air kisses between women on prime time and featured several LGBT characters long before most shows would go there, overlooked creator Barr’s slide into xenophobia and transphobia, making it a ratings smash from the premiere. But it wasn't just audiences who made the show a success despite Barr's history. ABC and out producer and star Sara Gilbert pushed for the series, which featured diversity in its stories and attempted to humanize Trump supporters for those on the left. But not only has the network canceled the series and released a statement, ABC and Gilbert worked to distance themselves from its creator, CNN reported.
"Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show," ABC wrote in a statement.
Meanwhile, Gilbert said Barr’s racist remarks are "abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our cast and crew or anyone associated with our show."
"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,” Gilbert continued in a statement, according to CNN.
Barr’s history of hate was on display long before the reboot. Still, those behind the reboot built it around a central character only thinly removed from its creator. Roseanne and Dan Conner (John Goodman) were painted as lovable LGBT-friendly Trump supporters on the series, a depiction that ignored the fact that the characters backed an administration that has sought to ban transgender military members and that has taken steps to further marginalize LGBT people.
The show's March premiere launched a slew of think pieces about whether or not progressive audiences could in good conscience support a series whose creator not only supported Trump but had become known for spewing hate and conspiracy theories.
If it seems like a stretch to hold those who supported Roseanne responsible for its creator's support of an administration whose policies engender transphobia, xenophobia, and misogyny, it’s impossible to ignore Barr’s history of anti-trans statements that came to a head when she went after Colleen Francis, a trans woman who made headlines for using the women’s locker room at Evergreen State College in 2012.
"If she has a penis, she’s not allowed in. I’m sorry, but a dick means you’re a man to me. Maybe I’m old and out of it, but I can’t go there, sorry,” Barr responded to Francis’s story." Women do not want your penises forced in their faces or in our private bathrooms. Respect that FACT," she declared.
Response to Barr’s latest Twitter tirade was fast and furious. Within hours after the tweet, Sykes wrote that she would step down from the show, and shortly after that the series was canceled.