Roseanne has been axed by the American network ABC after its creator Roseanne Barr posted a tweet comparing former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett, who is African-American, to an ape.
The comedian’s tweet, which has since been deleted, said that Jarrett was the child of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Planet of the Apes film.
On Tuesday, ABC condemned Barr’s comments, saying: “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values and we have decided to cancel her show.”
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Barr’s co-star Sara Gilbert also described her tweet as “abhorrent” and comedian Wanda Sykes, a consulting producer, left the sitcom.
Barr posted an apology to Twitter, which reads: “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.”
Jarrett responded to Barr’s tweet during MSNBC’s Everyday Racism in America town hall, saying the incident “should be a teaching moment”.
Roseanne, which originally ran for nine series from 1988 to 1997, was one of the biggest shows on American television in its heyday and a hit with working class audiences around the world, lauded for its portrayal of a blue collar American family. It won three Golden Globes and four Emmys during its original run and turned its main cast Barr, John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Fishman and Sara Gilbert into household names.
ABC’s revival of Roseanne in March – after the sitcom’s two-decade hiatus – was a huge hit, with its season premiere garnering 18 million viewers for the network.
Much like the character she plays in the show, Barr is an avid supporter of US President Donald Trump, who called the comedian on the phone to congratulate her on the success of the show’s reboot.
The sitcom tackles American political divisions and is sympathetic to Trump voters. The president is yet to comment on the show’s cancellation.
Despite announcing that she was quitting Twitter following her remark, Barr has been very active on her account in the past few hours, telling people not to “feel sorry” for her and apologising to those who have lost their jobs because of the show’s cancellation.
Don't feel sorry for me, guys!!-I just want to apologize to the hundreds of people,and wonderful writers (all liberal) and talented actors who lost their jobs on my show due to my stupid tweet. I will be on Joe Rogan's podcast friday.
— Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) May 30, 2018
She then sent a direct apology message to Jarrett.
Roseanne then tweeted again urging people not to “defend” her, suggesting that her actions were a result of a sedative used to aid sleep.
The cancellation of Roseanne comes two months after ABC awarded the show a 13-episode eleventh season based on the strength of its revival ratings.
A spokesman for Viacom, which owns various networks including Paramount, has confirmed the network will stop running old episodes and the streaming service Hulu has also announced Roseanne will be removed from its library.