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Fame and celebrity

Donald Trump makes ‘Roseanne’ cancellation about him as maker of Ambien denounces actress’s excuse for racist tweet

Trump complains that while ABC apologised to ex-Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett for Roseanne Barr’s tweet, he’d never received a similar call for ‘HORRIBLE’ remarks made about him on the network

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 May, 2018, 12:42am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 May, 2018, 10:01pm

As the media world shook on Wednesday in the wake of ABC’s surprise cancellation of its hit sitcom Roseanne, US President Donald Trump took the opportunity to turn the spotlight on him.

The rebooted sitcom, created by Roseanne Barr, the Trump-supporting comedian and actress, was dropped on Tuesday after Barr in a tweet likened Valerie Jarrett, a former special adviser to Barack Obama throughout his presidency, to a character from Planet of the Apes.

After Roseanne Barr, five other celebrities guilty of racist outbursts

“Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that ‘ABC does not tolerate comments like those’ made by Roseanne Barr,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday, referring to Robert Iger, chairman of the Walt Disney Company, ABC’s corporate parent.

“Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn’t get the call?”

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders later clarified that Trump was not defending Barr, but intended to point out alleged media bias against him.

In her offending tweet, Barr wrote that if the Islamist political movement “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby = vj”. She apologised for the comment and, on Wednesday, tried to pass it off as the result of taking sleep aid Ambien.

Racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication
Sanofi, maker of sleep aid Ambien, after Barr blamed it for her remarks

“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 in a message that has since been deleted. “I made a mistake I wish I hadn’t but...don’t defend it please.”

Sanofi, the company that makes the drug, responded on Wednesday morning.

“People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world,” its US arm said on Twitter. “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”

TV show 'Roseanne' cancelled after star posts offensive tweet

In other tweets, Barr said 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”.

Barr, 65, apologised “for making a bad joke” about Jarrett, who is black and was born in Iran to American parents.

“Don’t feel sorry for me, guys!!,” Barr said in a tweet late on Tuesday. “I just want to apologize to the hundreds of people, and wonderful writers (all liberal) and talented actors who lost their jobs on my show due to my stupid tweet.”

Jarrett, 61, said on Tuesday that Iger called her before ABC announced the show’s cancellation.

The talent agency ICM said on Tuesday it would no longer represent Barr. Several networks said they were removing reruns of her show, which originally ran from 1988 to 1997. Hulu said that episodes of the rebooted show would no longer be available on its streaming service.

Also on Wednesday, Michael Caputo – a former Trump campaign aide who is now chief marketing officer for a TV streaming start-up called Bond – told The Daily Beast that he plans to try to get Barr back on the air.

“We always planned on reaching out to Roseanne eventually,” Caputo said. “Now it’s sooner rather than later.”

The original Roseanne featured a blue-collar family, the Conners, struggling to get by. It 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 18.7 million viewers, second only to CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, according to Nielsen data up to May 20.

Caputo’s start-up hopes to get 75,000 paid subscribers by the end of the year.