‘Roseanne’ canceled after star compared Obama adviser to an “ape”

The show “Roseanne” was canceled Tuesday, hours after Roseanne Barr, lead actress in the rebooted sitcom, faced a public storm of criticism with a tweet calling a former presidential adviser to President Barack Obama a product of an Islamic group and a character from “Planet of the Apes.”

“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” said Channing Dungey, the president of ABC Entertainment, in a statement.

ABC television group and ABC News are both owned by Disney.

Early Tuesday morning, Barr commented: “Muslim Brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” She later deleted the tweet and apologized.

Barr was referring to Valerie Jarrett — an African American woman, lawyer and longstanding senior adviser to former President Barack Obama. Her comparison of Jarrett to an ape and the assertion that she has a connection to the organization Muslim Brotherhood, which she does not, sparked immediate anger on social media.

Show cast members, such as Sara Gilbert, mourned the end of the sitcom reboot on Twitter.

Gilbert, who plays Barr’s daughter on the show, condemned Barr’s tweet and put distance between Barr’s and her own. “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 tweeted.

Twitter users called the remarks racist and bigoted, asking ABC’s television group and Disney if she would be allowed to continue on the show.

Amidst the backlash, Wanda Sykes, an African American actress and consulting producer on the show, tweeted that she wouldn’t be returning to “Roseanne.”

Jarrett, who is from the president’s hometown of Chicago, is not Muslim and is not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s oldest and largest Islamic organization, according to research by the fact-checking website Snopes.

The unsubstantiated claim that she practices Islam arose at times during her tenure in the Obama administration.

Barr deleted the initial tweet and apologized hours after the original comment, though not before tweeting that Islam is not a race and includes “EVERY RACE of people,” an apparent dispute to calls that the tweet was racist. Islam is the religion practiced by Muslim people around the world.

In her apology, Barr called the tweet a “bad joke about her politics and her looks.” She also said she was “leaving Twitter,” but didn’t specify if that meant deleting her account.

Barr regularly tweets about politics and is an avid supporter of President Donald Trump, as is the character she plays on the ABC sitcom.

On Monday, Barr falsely tweeted that Chelsea Clinton was married to Democratic donor George Soros’ nephew. She later corrected herself. The daughter of former President Bill Clinton and presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is married to Marc Mezvinsky.

On “Good Morning America” in March when the show “Roseanne” first aired its hit reboot, Barr told ABC News’ Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos that she received a congratulatory call from Trump, who she said she’s known for a long time.

The call was “exciting,” she said, and in the interview she reflected on a need for more “civilized” conversation in the country.

“That’s what we need to do as a country is figure out what we don’t like, talk to each other and discuss how we’re going to get it changed or fixed,” Barr said. “I really hope that it opens up civil conversation between people instead of just of mud-slinging. I really do because I think we need to be more civilized in that,” she said.

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Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com