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ABC cancels ‘Roseanne’ revival series following star’s racist tweet

The revival of Roseanne was a short-lived success for ABC, which has canceled the series in response to a racist message posted on Twitter by star Roseanne Barr. The cancellation was announced mere hours after Barr posted a racist message regarding Valerie Jarrett, who was an adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama.

In the message, Barr compared Jarrett, an African-American woman, to an ape, and suggested that she was part of the Muslim Brotherhood. “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” she wrote. Barr deleted the message from Twitter when it prompted a flood of complaints.

As criticism mounted, she attempted to dismiss the message as a joke, then offered up a public apology on Twitter.

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

“I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans,” she wrote. “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.” She then announced that she was leaving Twitter entirely.

I apologize. I am now leaving Twitter.

— Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) May 29, 2018

The decision to cancel the series was announced shortly thereafter, with ABC Entertainment issuing a statement denouncing Barr’s comments and confirming that the series — which was one of the biggest stories of the most recent television season — would not be returning. “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” said ABC Entertainment chief Channing Dungey in a statement. Walt Disney Company CEO and chairman Robert Iger chimed in after the cancellation announcement, saying it was “the right thing” to do.

From Channing Dungey, President of ABC Entertainment: "Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show."
There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.

— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) May 29, 2018

Canceling the series will likely leave ABC scrambling to fill a big hole in its schedule, as the revival series finished its debut season as the top-rated scripted show on television. The network must now find a fill-in for the highest-rated, most-watched series of the broadcast season. Consulting producer Wanda Sykes, a comedian and actress who also served as a writer on the series, weighed in with her own response to Barr’s message well before the cancellation was confirmed, and announced that she would be leaving the series.

I will not be returning to @RoseanneOnABC.

— Wanda Sykes (@iamwandasykes) May 29, 2018

Sara Gilbert, who starred in the original run of Roseanne and the revival, offered up her own response to the unfolding events.

Roseanne’s recent comments about Valerie Jarrett, and so much more, are abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our cast and crew or anyone associated with our show. I am disappointed in her actions to say the least. — sara gilbert (@THEsaragilbert) May 29, 2018

“Roseanne’s recent comments about Valerie Jarrett, and so much more, are abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our cast and crew or anyone associated with our show,” she posted on Twitter. “I am disappointed in her actions to say the least.”

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.

— sara gilbert (@THEsaragilbert) May 29, 2018

“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,” she added in a subsequent post.

There’s no word yet on the show that ABC will insert into the time slot formerly set aside for Roseanne.

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