Fame and celebrity

After Roseanne Barr, five other celebrities guilty of racist outbursts

US actress Roseanne Barr is not the first celebrity to face a backlash after racist comments. Here are five other superstars who landed in hot water by saying the wrong thing

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 May, 2018, 11:30am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 May, 2018, 12:46pm

American actress Roseanne Barr has had her hit sitcom Roseanne cancelled after she posted a tweet comparing former Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to an ape.

In the since-deleted tweet, Barr said of Jarrett: “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”

Barr, 65, posted an apology on Twitter saying it was meant as a joke, followed by a tweet that she would be leaving the social media site.

But the damage had been done. Her comments sparked an online storm, with celebrities taking to social media to slam the actress. ABC promptly cancelled her show, which was the network’s biggest hit of the 2017-18 season with an average of 18.7 million viewers.

“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” said Channing Dungey, president of ABC Entertainment, in a statement.

This isn’t the first time a celebrity has landed in hot water over racist comments. Here are five more:

John Galliano

The fashion world was left shocked in 2011 when a video surfaced showing British designer John Galliano hurling racist and anti-Semitic comments towards a couple outside La Perle bar in Paris’ Marais district.

British tabloid The Sun posted a video on its website of Galliano making disparaging comments.

“I love Hitler,” the video shows Galliano saying to restaurant guests. “People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be f***ing gassed.”

French fashion house Dior fired Galliano, its creative director, for the outburst, and he was given a suspended fine of 6,000 (US$6,900) by a Paris court for the incident.

Mel Gibson

It’s a similar story for actor Mel Gibson, who in July 2006 was recorded making anti-Semitic remarks to a policeman during a drink-driving arrest in Malibu.

“The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world!” the Hollywood star spouted at the time, according to the arrest report that was leaked on The mugshot above of the Australian actor also went viral at the time.

Gibson’s controversial statements resulted in him being blacklisted in Hollywood for almost a decade.

Gigi Hadid

The US supermodel pulled out of a Victoria’s Secret fashion show in Shanghai last year after an online video showing her making a slanteyes face sparked criticism in China.

On Twitter, the 22-year-old gave no reason for her pulling out. “I’m so bummed I won’t be able to make it to China this year,” she tweeted.

But Chinese internet users had some idea as to why she was left out of the show, and lashed out at Hadid after her sister Bella posted the Instagram video that showed Hadid squinting her eyes while holding up a Buddha-shaped biscuit.

Floyd Mayweather

American boxer Floyd Mayweather trash-talked Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao in 2015 in an online video littered with profane and racist comments that lasted about 10 minutes. The video was made in a run up to a fight between the two men billed as “The Fight of the Century”.

“We’re going to cook that little yellow chump Pacquiao,” Mayweather said, adding “after I stomp the midget,” he would make Pacquiao “make me a sushi roll and cook me some rice”.


The US star was accused of making racist comments towards her ex-boyfriend Chris Brown’s then girlfriend, the half-Vietnamese model Karrueche Tran.

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The social media battle started when Rihanna tweeted a photo of a bag of rice cakes with gold earrings and the caption, “Ima make u my b****,” which has been perceived as being a racial insult at Tran.