July 31, 2018
Barr Trying to Battle Back After Firing
After several weeks of defiance, Roseanne Barr appeared poised and contrite in her first major network TV interview since being fired from her eponymous sitcom due to some tweets about former Obama advisor, Valerie Jarrett.
It’s a new look for a comedian who has built her career stepping across the line with sharp satire and humor directed at social norms and political trends. Barr has always been edgy, even when her popular sitcom was not, yet, when Twitter users reacted with outrage over tweets deemed to be racist, Barr was quickly ousted by ABC.
In the immediate aftermath, Barr stood her ground, saying she wasn’t a racist and people just didn’t understand the joke. Her fans bought into that messaging and amplified it. Meanwhile, Barr’s detractors were working hard to magnify her words and their reading of them. ABC decided to err on the side of caution, and that, too, split its audience.
Then, for a while, all was quiet. Barr did sound off a bit when certain public figures came to the defense of recently-fired director James Gunn, saying some of the same people who are defending him excoriated her. Otherwise, there was a tepid response from both fans and detractors when ABC announced it would continue “Roseanne” as “The Conners,” a show centered on everyone but the person the show had been centered on.
So… where was Roseanne in all of this? Was Barr ready to offer a mea culpa and try to win back into the good graces of TV viewers at large? That was the question leading into her sit-down with Fox News pundit Sean Hannity.
During the interview, Hannity asked Barr, over and over, to apologize to Jarrett live on the air. The comedian responded by offering regret: “(The Tweet) cost me everything… I wish I worded it better…” Barr added, “I’m sorry (Jarrett) feels harm and hurt. I never meant that. I never meant to hurt anybody…”
Barr also repeated her assertion that she didn’t realize Jarrett was black when comparing her to one of the Planet of the Apes actors. She said the negative reaction to the tweet “stunned” her, calling herself a “creative genius” and saying the reaction was “not a good feeling… for an artist or a citizen…”
Barr went on to imply she is done apologizing after having “apologized for two months…” And, in an effort to target a specific group she hoped to win sympathy with, Barr specifically expressed solidarity with Trump voters: “I’m not a racist and the people who voted for Trump, they’re not racist either, and Trump isn’t a racist…”
Whether that group – or any other – accepts her comments is still up in the air. As for ABC, they are set to begin production of Barr’s show without her… at least for now.
-5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian