Barr defends tweet

Roseanne Barr
Roseanne Barr

WASHINGTON • In a wide-ranging interview with talk-show host Sean Hannity last Thursday night, actress Roseanne Barr (above) attempted to defend her tweet about former Barack Obama administration adviser Valerie Jarrett that got her fired from ABC two months ago.

"I was so sad that people thought it was racist," Barr said in her first televised interview since her sitcom was shut down after ABC deemed the tweet "abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values".

She repeatedly told Hannity that to her, the tweet was a political statement and had nothing to do with race, and also used her previous defence that she did not know Jarrett was African-American.

"I thought she was Middle Eastern," she said.

During the conversation, Barr seemed frustrated whenever Hannity brought the topic back around to the tweet and she reiterated how it cost her "everything".

She also occasionally got emotional, such as when she talked about her African-American godson. Barr said her godson's father called her after the tweet and said: "I love you no matter what you do."

"I just have to say this," Barr said. "If you really think at the height of my power and my fame, I would go 'black people look like' - I mean, it's just, I wouldn't - I am not stupid."

The hour-long interview also dealt with her mental health. She talked about being hospitalised multiple times and previously suffering from multiple personality disorder.

When Hannity asked about her future, in which ABC has ordered a spin-off called The Conners without her, Barr revealed one interesting twist.

She said her contract with the network actually addressed her Twitter feed, which was always controversial and contained many fringe conspiracy theories. "I walked away from that show, despite the fact that I had a contract which protected me if I got in trouble with tweets," she said.

"It said that in your contract? And they didn't pay you?" Hannity asked.

She paused. "Well, we can't talk about that," she said. "But I was allowed under my contract to have 24 hours to correct any mistake." She added that she asked ABC executives to let her go on The View or another show to "explain and correct" the Jarrett tweet, but they said no.

ABC did not respond to a request to comment about her claim about her contract.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2018, with the headline 'Barr defends tweet'. Print Edition | Subscribe