“We are all greatly distressed by the disgraceful and unacceptable tweet from Roseanne Barr this morning,” ICM Partners said in a statement Tuesday. “What she wrote is antithetical to our core values, both as individuals and as an agency. Consequently, we have notified her that we will not represent her. Effective immediately, Roseanne Barr is no longer a client.”
Barr signed with ICM last August, just as the reboot of “Roseanne” went into production. Barr has long been known to hold out out-there views on politics and aspects of American culture. The actress has also been a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, a character trait that was also given to her sitcom alter-ego, Roseanne Connor.
But the tweet the Barr sent Tuesday morning — which she subsequently deleted and apologized for — crossed the line for ABC from politics to a purely offensive and racially charged insult. Barr slammed former Obama administration advisor Valerie Jarrett, who is African-American, by saying she was akin to a union of the Muslim Brotherhood and “Planet of the Apes.” The nature of the comment and the steamrolling criticism via social media left ABC with little choice but to part ways with the volatile star.
The decisions by ABC and ICM mark a dizzying downfall for an actress who had long been on the fringe of the entertainment industry but was enjoying renewed clout with the smash success of the “Roseanne” reboot.
The revival of the blue-collar family comedy that aired on ABC from 1988 to 1997 bowed in March to a massive 18 million-plus viewers. The success of the show stunned ABC and the industry at large, and prompted much discussion about mainstream network TV needed to warm up to programs and personalities that appeal to what has become known as the “Trump demo.”
ICM’s decision to sever ties with Barr reflects the heightened scrutiny and pressure on networks, studios and talent representatives in doing business with actors and others who are accused of bad behavior off screen. Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Bill O’Reilly, and many others in recent months have been dropped by agents and managers amid misconduct scandals.