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Roseanne Barr’s tweet and shelved sitcom sparks debate

Roseanne Barr attends a Hollywood red carpet eventImage copyrightAFP
Image caption Roseanne Barr’s tweets led to the cancellation of her hit TV sitcom

Opinion online has been divided over the decision by US TV network ABC to cancel Roseanne Barr’s revived TV comedy series over her racist tweet.

In a tweet that has since been deleted by the comedian, she likened Valerie Jarrett, a former adviser to Barack Obama, to an ape.

Ms Barr later apologised for her offensive tweet. But ABC decided to cancel the reboot of her hit 90s sitcom. The show made a comeback in March this year after a 21-year hiatus.

Roseanne Barr’s tweet and shelved sitcom sparks debate
Roseanne Barr’s tweet and shelved sitcom sparks debate

Within 24 hours of Ms Barr’s deleted tweet, there have been over two million tweets mentioning her first name.

The controversy has led to some people backing ABC’s decision while others have been claiming the TV network showed double standards over free speech.

After a brief self-imposed Twitter exile, Ms Barr came back to post a number of tweets including one where she said she was, “tired of being attacked and belittled”. She also retweeted messages of support.

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Some Hollywood celebrities including Don Cheadle and Shonda Rimes condemned Ms Barr’s comments and backed the decision to cancel her series.

Skip Twitter post by @DonCheadle

you can take @RoseanneOnABC out of racism but you can’t take the racism out of @therealroseannehttps://t.co/sJs7Hn5zrn

— Don Cheadle (@DonCheadle) May 29, 2018

End of Twitter post by @DonCheadle

Skip Twitter post by @shondarhimes

But honestly she got what she deserved. As I tell my 4 year old, one makes a choice with one’s actions. Roseanne made a choice. A racist one. ABC made a choice. A human one.

— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) May 29, 2018

End of Twitter post by @shondarhimes

Kumail Nanjiani, the star of “The Big Sick” and “Silicon Valley” tweeted: “I’m glad Roseanne is cancelled. The backlash to its cancellation is going to be a deafening nightmare. Nothing good has come of this entire thing.”

Fellow cast members were also critical of her tweets, including Sara Gilbert, who played her daughter on the show.

Skip Twitter post by @THEsaragilbert

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. I am disappointed in her actions to say the least.

— sara gilbert (@THEsaragilbert) May 29, 2018

End of Twitter post by @THEsaragilbert

Some people with right-wing views saw double standards. Supporters of President Donald Trump asked why TV host Bill Maher was not fired for comparing the president to an orangutan on his HBO show.

Skip Twitter post by @charliekirk11

Wait, Bill Maher makes comparisons to Trump being a gorilla all the time?

They get classified as “jokes” by the media and he is of course allowed to keep his show and not have his life ruined

The difference?

Bill Maher is a liberal, Roseanne is a free-thinking Trump supporter

— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) May 29, 2018

End of Twitter post by @charliekirk11

Others made similar comments as Bill Maher’s name was trending on Twitter with more 147,000 tweets since Tuesday afternoon.

People who tweeted in defence of Ms Barr say Jimmy Kimmel, an ABC late-night TV comedian, should be held to the same standards after he appeared to mock First Lady Melania Trump’s Slovenian accent.

Skip Twitter post by @PamelaJNM

Jimmy Kimmel mocks Melania Trump’s accent and nobody at ABC got fired! Doesn’t seem so bad to make fun of a woman’s accent if she is white, I guess.

— Pamela JN McDonald (@PamelaJNM) May 29, 2018

End of Twitter post by @PamelaJNM

Ms Barr is a high-profile Trump supporter. President Trump once called her to congratulate on the success of the revival of her TV show.

But not all conservatives were willing to defend Ms Barr’s tweet. US commentator Tomi Lahern, said Barr was “wrong”.

Skip Twitter post by @TomiLahren

What Roseanne said was wrong. I’m sure she knows that. She made a mistake. I don’t know why fellow conservatives are playing mental gymnastics trying to justify it. Come on. Wrong is wrong.

— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) May 29, 2018

End of Twitter post by @TomiLahren

Fox News host Sean Hannity said her tweet was “outrageous” and that she was right to apologise.

In his Tuesday radio show, he said “comedians are always in danger because they just think they’re being funny and they’re not.”

Hours after ABC’s announcement, Ms Barr blamed Ambien, a sleeping pill, for her actions although she said she did not want to give “excuses for what I (she) did but I’ve done weird stuff while on ambien,” in a tweet that has been deleted.

US conservative comedian Terrence K. Williams defended Ms Barr on Twitter. He said she “is not a racist” and that she “made a mistake while she was on Ambien.”

The term Ambien has also been trending overnight, with people criticising Ms Barr for using the drug as a defence.

Skip Twitter post by @scottEweinberg

Ambien should sue Roseanne for claiming that their product causes overt racism. I’ve seen their commercials. They don’t mention that as a side effect.

— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) May 30, 2018

End of Twitter post by @scottEweinberg

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