WASHINGTON — Roseanne Barr has apologized for targeting one of President Barack Obama’s senior advisers as the offspring of the “Muslim Brotherhood & Planet of the Apes,” as she responded to a social media conspiracy theory about President Donald Trump’s predecessor.
Barr previously referred to Obama aide Valerie Jarrett as “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” She was responding to a Tweet that alleged that “Jarrett helped hide a lot.” That was a reference to a Wikileaks claim that the CIA during Obama’s term spied on candidates for the French election.
Barr stars in the ABC revival of her sitcom, which has been renewed for another season. A spokesman for the network did not immediately return a request for comment. A spokesman for Jarrett said she had no comment.
Popular on Variety
Barr’s tweet was met with immediate condemnation despite her apology. Among those speaking out was her co-star and fellow “Roseanne” executive producer Sara Gilbert. Gilbert called Barr’s remarks “abhorrent” and said she was “disappointed in her actions to say the least.”
Gilbert sought to distance the show from its namesake star. “Roseanne,” she asserted, remains an entity “separate and apart from the opinions and words of one cast member.” But the backlash was clearly growing in the hours after Barr’s tweet and apology. “Roseanne” consulting producer Wanda Sykes, who is African-American, announced via Twiter that she would not return to the show for its second season.
During Obama’s administration, Jarrett was one of the president’s closest advisers. Jarrett, an African-American, was born in Iran to American parents.
Barr responded to criticism that her tweet was racist by writing, “Muslims r not a race.”
Barr also tweeted about Chelsea Clinton, referring to her as “Chelsea Soros Clinton.” That is a reference to George Soros, the billionaire who has helped fund progressive causes. Clinton fired back with her own response, writing, “Good morning Roseanne – my given middle name is Victoria. I imagine George Soros’s nephews are lovely people. I’m just not married to one. I am grateful for the important work
@OpenSociety does in the world. Have a great day!”
Barr’s apology did not stop calls for ABC to respond.
Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” wrote, “Hey
@ABC, Roseanne Barr compared Valerie Jarrett to an ape. There is no apology she can make that justifies @ABC turning a blind eye to this bigotry by airing another second of her show. Even in the Age of Trump, there are red lines that can never be crossed. This is one.”
Tim Miller, spokesman for Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign, wrote, “It’s weird how Real American Anti-PC Warriors who are shining a light on out of touch elites keep calling black people apes.”
Others pointed to the way that Walt Disney Co.-unit ESPN responded to the controversy over Jemele Hill, who was suspended for a series of tweets in which she called President Trump a white supremacist and later suggested a boycott of advertisers of the Dallas Cowboys.
She responded on Twitter on Tuesday, “Please God let me mind my business today.”