Roseanne Barr blames sleep aid Ambien for racist tweet, drugmaker replies with sharp retort
U.S. comedian Roseanne Barr appeared to blame the sleep aid Ambien and Memorial Day for her tweet that compared a former Obama administration official to an ape, a racist remark that prompted ABC to cancel her top-rated show, Roseanne.
In a series of Tweets on Tuesday and early on Wednesday Barr said that what she did was “unforgivable” when she posted on Twitter that if the Islamist political movement “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby = vj,” referring to Valerie Jarrett, a former aide to former president Barack Obama.
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The racist tweet has since been deleted.
“It was 2 in the morning and I was Ambien tweeting-it was memorial day too-i went 2 far & do not want it defended-it was egregious Indefensible,” she wrote. “I made a mistake I wish I hadn’t but…don’t defend it please.”
Sanofi, the maker of Ambien replied to Barr’s tweet about the sleeping pill saying: “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”
U.S. President Donald Trump waded into the discussion on Wednesday morning, asking why Disney chief executive Bob Iger didn’t ever call him. (Iger contacted Jarrett, 61, to notify her of the show’s cancellation.)
After her initial tweet on Tuesday, ABC announced it was cancelling her popular U.S. television comedy, Roseanne. The show’s reruns were pulled from Hulu and she was also dropped by her talent agency.
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In other tweets, Barr, 65, said that she was tired of “being attacked and belittled more than other comedians who have said worse” and asked for people not to boycott ABC, saying that the network has the right to “do what they wish.”
She also said she felt bad for Trump because “he goes thru this every single day.”
Barr is a noted fan of Trump — as is her sitcom character — and has made many sarcastic comments about former president Obama and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
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Barr apologized to Jarrett, who is African American and was born in Iran to American parents, saying “I am truly sorry-my whole life has been about fighting racism. I made a terrible mistake wh(ich) cause hundreds of ppl 2 lose their jobs.”
She then tweeted, “i honestly thought she was Jewish and Persian-ignorant of me for sure, but…i did.”
Jarrett responded to the controversy saying she was, “worried about all the people out there who don’t have a circle of friends and followers who come right to their defence.”
The original Roseanne ran from 1988 to 1997 and was praised for its realistic portrayal of working-class life.
The current Roseanne was ABC’s biggest hit of the 2017-2018 season, drawing an average of 18.7 million viewers, second only to CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, according to Nielsen data through May 20.
— With files from Reuters
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