Last Week, Roseanne Barr Told Adweek She Was Turning Over a New Leaf on Twitter. It Didn’t Work

She recently sent out a racist tweet about an Obama adviser

'Her kids, and her TV kids, try to keep her off of social media,' said Sara Gilbert (left) of Roseanne Barr. ABC/Adam Rose
Headshot of Jason Lynch

During last week’s cover story about the triumphant return of her series Roseanne this spring, Roseanne Barr told Adweek that she was going to try a new social media approach when it comes to her frequently controversial Twitter feed: “I’m going to just try to talk about what I’m for, rather than what I’m against.”

Well, that didn’t last long.

Barr once again finds herself under fire this morning after she attacked President Obama’s White House adviser Valerie Jarrett on Twitter, comparing her to the movie Planet of the Apes and the Islamist organization Muslim Brotherhood. In the since-deleted tweet, she said of Jarrett, “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”

She quickly came under criticism for what many saw as a racist tweet (Jarrett is African-American and was born in Iran to American parents). Barr at first defended the tweet, responding that it wasn’t racist because “Muslims r NOT a race,” before deleting it, apologizing to Jarett and claiming she was leaving Twitter.

After seeing the tweet Wanda Sykes, who is a consulting producer on Roseanne, announced she won’t be returning to the show next season.

In last week’s Adweek cover story, ad buyers mentioned that Barr’s sometimes-controversial statements in public appearances and on social media was perhaps the only thing that could derail the show’s continued success.

Barr’s children banned her from Twitter during the months leading up to Roseanne’s return on ABC this spring (“her kids, and her TV kids, try to keep her off of social media,” said Sara Gilbert, who plays daughter Darlene and is an executive producer on the revival), but since the show debuted in March Barr had returned with a vengeance. She erroneously accused a Parkland shooting survivor of performing a Nazi salute, promoted a right-wing conspiracy theory about child sex trafficking and started a Twitter feud with Stormy Daniels (some of her more incendiary tweets were later deleted).

“I can’t back off from what’s really going on in the world, because I’m very fascinated by it and I have to stick my nose in everyone’s business,” Barr explained to Adweek.

ABC, which has not yet commented on Barr’s Jarrett tweet, had hoped Barr would stick to the kinder, gentler social media plan she had shared with Adweek.

“Roseanne has said herself that she does not want what she says publicly to overshadow the show in any way, and I do hope that she will continue to be thoughtful about what she shares on social moving forward,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said in Adweek’s cover story.

It’s also not clear how long Barr’s Twitter hiatus will last. Last weekend, Barr also said she was leaving Twitter, but she changed her mind not even an hour later, after followers begged her to stay.


@jasonlynch jason.lynch@adweek.com Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.
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