Roseanne Barr was infamously fired from “Roseanne” due to a tweet she wrote in May 2018, “Muslim Brotherhood & Planet of the Apes had a baby=vj,” referring to former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, who is African-American. Most people who read the tweet interpreted it to be a racist slur, equating a person of colour with a primate, which led to ABC cutting ties with its controversial star.
Barr, 66, has blamed the sleeping drug Ambien for the tweet, along with insisting she didn’t know that Jarrett was black, yet ABC made it crystal clear that execs considered the tweet to be racist.
“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” Channing Dungey, then-ABC entertainment president, said in a statement announcing her firing.
However, she is now offering another theory to explain why she was fired. “I feel that what happened to me, a large part of it is anti-Semitism,” Barr, who is Jewish, told the Jerusalem Post in a telephone interview.
“I think it played a part — the fact that I was never allowed to explain what I meant — and what I meant was a commentary on Iran — so they purposely mischaracterized what I said and wouldn’t let me explain,” she added.
“And in haste they did something unprecedented that they’ve never done to any other artist. And at the base of that I think it’s because I am the most vocal person about Israel and BDS,” the she continued, referring to the boycott, divest and sanctions movement.
According to Barr, her tweet wasn’t intended to be racial, but was meant as political commentary. “What I said was mischaracterized purposely and repeatedly, so they didn’t even know what I meant, but they wanted to shape it and they did — they said it was something racial, when it was actually something political,” she told the Post.
“And I have never in my life done anything racist, and I think my career proves that. And they did it so quickly — to fire and label and slander my name. I think it had a lot to do with identifying with Israel.”
Barr recently announced plans to visit Israel later this month and speak at the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, where she’ll be accompanied by longtime friend and spiritual adviser Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.
Speaking with the Post, Boteach insisted that Barr deserves forgiveness. “She wrote one tweet, she apologized for it, she cried, she asked Valerie Jarrett publicly for forgiveness, she humbled herself,” he said.
“I want Israelis to know what it’s like to be an American Jew, so I’ll be speaking about that,” explained Barr of what she plans to discuss in her upcoming speech, scheduled for Jan. 31. “You guys [in Israel] don’t go through the anti-Semitism that we go through in America.”