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After Calling a Black Woman an Ape, Roseanne Barr Could Still Win an Emmy

After Calling a Black Woman an Ape, Roseanne Barr Could Still Win an Emmy

Roseanne Barr still on Emmy ballot despite Roseanne cancellation

The show was canceled after a series of racist tweets by Barr, but her behavior didn't affect her Emmy eligibility.

Despite ABC's cancellation of Roseanne Barr's show in response to racist tweets she posted, she is still on the 2018 Emmy ballot for her role in her revived Roseanne series.

Barr reportedly begged not to have her show canceled after she was denounced for her now-deleted tweet about former Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, which called her a cross between the "Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes."

To add fuel to the fire, Barr retweeted photos likening Jarrett, who is African-American, to an ape, and a meme that attempted to justify it. Historically, the comparison of people of African descent to apes has served to demonize black people, and the comparison proliferated both in the scientific works published in mid-19th and early 20th centuries (e.g. Types of Mankind in 1854) and in pop culture (e.g. Tarzan and King Kong), as noted in an article posted on The Conversation.

Barr apologized for the tweet, calling it a "joke" made in poor taste and blaming it on the fact that she had been on Ambien, a drug used to treat sleep disorders, when she posted it. This prompted memes about Ambien and a tweet from the drug's manufacturer, Sanofi, saying that "racism is not a known side effect" of the medication.

In a series of tweets, Barr asserted that she did not know Jarrett was part black, inconsistently guessing Jarrett's ethnic background as Saudi, Persian Jewish, and white, in that order. Her assertion that she guessed Jarrett was a nonblack Persian Jewish woman is contradicted by another set of tweets contending that her Planet of the Apes reference was about the "anti semitism of the Iran Deal." Barr is Jewish, and Jarrett has Jewish ancestry.

GoldDerby, a website dedicated to predicting results of awards ceremonies like the Emmys, Oscars, and Grammys, covered Roseanne's Twitter controversy and is running a poll in which users are asked if she will earn a 2018 Emmy nomination in spite of the incident.

Her Twitter tirade did not disqualify her from the Emmy ballot.

"The rules of competition are silent on behavioral issues," a Television Academy spokesperson told The Advocate. "There can be a disqualification of an ineligible entry at any stage of the competition."

Roseanne, which had run on ABC from 1988 to 1997, had enjoyed a brief revival with the premiere of its 10th season March 27. The eligibility period is from June 1, 2017 to May 31, 2018, and shows must have had their premiere airing within this period to be allowed on the ballot.

Actors can nominate themselves as an entrant on the Emmy ballot, or producers can apply for nomination on their behalf. This means that Barr could nominate herself as well as the other actors on Roseanne. Barr is in the running for Best Comedy Actress, and 12 other actors are listed in the running for other categories. The Emmy ballot procedural rules can be read here. The nominations will be announced July 12, and the awards will be presented September 17.

Fans of the Roseanne series have called for a spin-off show without Barr, and she has tentatively agreed to waive rights to fees and certain other compensation for a proposed spin-off, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The show, which has yet to be picked up by a network, would star out actress Sara Gilbert as Darlene Conner.

The reboot had previously raised concerns about the disconnect between Donald Trump-supporting Barr and her audience as well as how Trump's policies toward the LGBT community would be addressed. Despite her previous reported support of the LGBT community, she has a history of being transphobic. The racist tweets just added to that problematic history.

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Aryn Plax