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Roseanne: 'Do Not Defend Me'

She says she was 'Ambien tweeting'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2018 2:06 AM CDT
Updated May 30, 2018 6:21 AM CDT
Roseanne: I Was 'Ambien Tweeting'
In this March 23, 2018 photo, Roseanne Barr arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Roseanne" on Friday in Burbank, Calif.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – Roseanne Barr was back on Twitter on Tuesday night, hours after she said she was quitting in the wake of the racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett that got her show canceled. She blamed her offensive tweet on the sedative Ambien. "Guys I did something unforgiveable so do not defend me," she said in one tweet. "It was 2 in the morning and I was ambien tweeting-it was memorial day too-i went 2 far & do not want it defended." In another tweet, she apologized to the "hundreds of people,and wonderful writers (all liberal) and talented actors" who lost their jobs because of her "stupid tweet." Barr added in yet another tweet: "Please don't start all of that boycott abc stuff-I'm not a censor and they have the right to do what they wish." More:

  • Valerie Jarrett's response. Jarrett, a former Obama adviser, responded to Barr's tweet in a town hall hosted by MSNBC on Tuesday night. She said she was doing "fine" but feels that this should be a "teaching moment." Asked if she felt whether President Trump had set the tone for Barr's tweet, she said: "Tone does start at the top, and we like to look up to our president and feel as though he reflects the values of our country. But I also think that every individual citizen has a responsibility too, and it's up to all of us to push back. Our government is only going to be as good as we make it be."

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  • A risk for ABC? Analysts tell Politico that ABC and Disney, its parent corporation, had little choice but to fire Barr and cancel her top-rated show despite the risk of a backlash from supporters including the president. If the network had failed to act, boycotts and social media campaigns could have seriously damaged the image of ABC and other Disney properties. "She’s a pimple on the tushy of The Walt Disney Co., and they lanced it," says former Fox and NBC exec Preston Beckman.
  • More from Barr. Barr—who likened Jarrett to if the "muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby" in the tweet that got her fired—said she would defend herself and "talk to her followers" in another late-night tweet. She said she was tired of being attacked more than other comedians. Her many retweets included posts from supporters who argued that Keith Olbermann, Jimmy Kimmel, and others had said equally offensive things without being punished—and that Disney took a lot longer to cut its ties with Harvey Weinstein.
  • Cast reaction. Fellow Roseanne cast members and other ABC stars were among those speaking out against Barr, Vanity Fair reports. Sara Gilbert said Barr's tweet was "abhorrent" and she was "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," she tweeted.

  • "Not a First Amendment issue." At Esquire, Jack Holmes argues that this is not a First Amendment issue, despite what some of Barr's defenders are saying. "The First Amendment applies to government attempts to curtail speech: the government cannot jail you for your speech, but your company can fire you for saying racist things," he writes. "Imagine you stood up in your office and yelled what Barr tweeted. You would certainly get reprimanded, and would probably get fired."
  • "Terrible timing." The New York Times notes that the timing of the outburst was terrible for ABC, which had just pitched its fall lineup to advertisers, with Roseanne as the centerpiece. But the network moved on swiftly: A Roseanne rerun scheduled for Tuesday night was replaced with an episode of The Middle, and ABC also started removing Roseanne episodes from its website.
  • "Cancel Roseanne but keep the show." At CNN, Ernest Owens argues that ABC went too far when it canceled the show. He says that instead of "punishing" writers and Barr's fellow cast members, ABC should keep the show but kill off her character. "Instead of canceling the show and sending the cast away for good, ABC should reignite the show to highlight ways to address the destructive racism endorsed or tacitly accepted among Trump supporters like Barr," he writes.
(Read more Roseanne Barr stories.)

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