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Hit sitcom ‘Roseanne’ axed over racist tweet row

By AFP 29 May 2018
Caption
US actress Roseanne Barr arrives for the 'Life Ball' charity event at the Rathaus city hall in Vienna, Austria, 16 May 2015. The 23rd Life Ball is an annual charity fundraiser for HIV and Aids projects. EPA/HERBERT NEUBAUER

US television network ABC announced on Tuesday it was canceling Roseanne Barr's hit comedy "Roseanne" over a joke she made on Twitter that was widely decried as racist.

The sitcom star had earlier apologized to African-American former Barack Obama aide Valerie Jarrett, for what she called a “bad joke.”

“Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby = vj,” tweeted Barr, star of the newly revived ABC TV comedy “Roseanne.”

After a barrage of criticism on social media, Barr deleted the tweet, apologized and then said she was leaving Twitter.

“I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans,” Barr tweeted. “I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks. I should have known better. Forgive me – my joke was in bad taste.”

“I apologize. I am now leaving Twitter,” she said.

The mea culpa was not enough for ABC however, which issued a statement from its entertainment president Channing Dungey saying it was axing the hit show over Barr’s “abhorrent, repugnant” tweet, which was “inconsistent with our values.”

Barr’s 1988-97 hit show “Roseanne” returned to the air this year with her as a Trump-supporting character.

The show is a rare depiction of working-class life on US television and also of Trump supporters, who have been largely ignored by Hollywood.

Barr is also an outspoken backer of President Donald Trump in real life and frequently voices her support for him on Twitter.

The revival of “Roseanne” received good ratings and was recently renewed for a second season.

African-American comedian Wanda Sykes, a consulting producer on the comedy, announced Tuesday she would not be returning to the show.

Campaigns had also been launched on social media to pressure advertisers to drop their support for the sitcom. DM

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