A weekend Twitter rant by Roseanne Barr caused ABC to cancel her top-rated program. The star made front-page news by her racist tweets that left the Disney owned network with little choice but cut the popular comedy reboot from their fall line-up.
The decision to cut ties with Roseanne, the network’s No. 1 show, and TV’s most-watched comedy in the 18-49 demo, came after Barr attacked former Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett on Twitter, comparing her to the movie Planet of the Apes and the Islamist organization Muslim Brotherhood.
In the since-deleted tweet, Barr said of Jarrett, “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”
In a statement released to the press, ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey announced Tuesday: “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”
Disney CEO Bob Iger added on Twitter that “There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.”
The cancellation was a shock to everyone in the television business. The revival of “Roseanne” premiered to huge ratings just three months ago and despite some controversy, the show was making the network big money because of the programs high ratings.
Pre-production was already underway on the second season, which was scheduled for Tuesdays at 8 p.m. this fall.
Sara Gilbert, who was along with Barr co-executive producer of Roseanne was also quick to condemn her longtime friend. She was quoted on the Los Angeles Times website.
Gilbert who is both a producer and co-hosts CBS talk-show “The Talk,” Tuesday shortly spoke about the issue after consulting producer Wanda Sykes announced her departure from her role on Roseanne.
Gilbert also called Barr’s comments “abhorrent.”
“Roseanne’s recent comments about Valerie Jarrett, and so much more, are abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our cast and crew or anyone associated with our show,” she wrote. “I am disappointed in her actions, to say the least.” Gilbert added that the situation is “incredibly sad and difficult for all of us.”
“We’ve created a show that we believe in, are proud of, and that audiences love — one that is separate and apart from the opinions and words of one cast member,” Gilbert added.
There were both concerns and hope in the advertising community about if the show was a good investment. In last week’s Adweek cover story about the show, ad buyers mentioned that Barr’s sometimes-controversial statements in public appearances and on social media were perhaps the only thing that could derail the show’s continued success.