ABC canceled the hit sitcom “Roseanne” on Tuesday hours after the show’s star and co-creator, Roseanne Barr, posted a racist tweet about a former top adviser to President Obama who is black.
Early on Tuesday, Ms. Barr posted a comment about Valerie Jarrett, the former adviser to Mr. Obama, that said if
“muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”
Ms. Barr, whose ABC sitcom about the Conner family ended a successful comeback season last week, initially dismissed accusations that the comment was racist, defending it as “a joke.” She also said on Twitter, “ISLAM is not a RACE, lefties. Islam includes EVERY RACE of people.”
Ms. Barr later deleted the post about Ms. Jarrett, and initially said nothing about the reference to “The Planet of the Apes.” About a half-hour later, she offered an apology.
“I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans,” she wrote. “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.”
Ms. Barr also said she was “leaving Twitter.”
Hours later, ABC canceled her show.
“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” ABC’s entertainment president, Channing Dungey, said in a statement.
The fallout over the Twitter post had begun earlier. Wanda Sykes, the black comedian who served as a consulting producer on “Roseanne” this season, said she was leaving the sitcom. Whitney Cummings — a showrunner for the revived comedy, and one of its most outspoken liberal supporters — had already left the series this month.
The Rev. Al Sharpton said that Ms. Barr’s comparing Ms. Jarret to an “APE is racist and inexcusable. ABC must take action NOW!” Tom Arnold, Ms. Barr’s former husband and co-star, called her Twitter posts “dangerous.” And the MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said, “There is no apology she can make that justifies @ABC turning a blind eye to this bigotry by airing another second of her show.”
Ms. Barr’s often incendiary use of Twitter has stayed in the background amid the “Roseanne” revival’s success.
Months before the show premiered, she said that her children had taken her social media accounts away from her. It was no small matter: Ms. Barr has used Twitter to promote conspiracy theories, and some ABC executives were worried that she might say something offensive enough to lead viewers or advertisers to revolt.
A screenshot of the tweet that was deleted by Ms. Barr, and for which she apologized. The screenshot continued to be shared on Twitter by other users.
Ms. Barr has been outspoken in her support of President Trump, who called to congratulate her on the ratings for the show’s premiere episode, and in her antipathy toward Hillary Clinton.