Roseanne Barr blames controversial tweets on her taking of sleeping pill Ambien

NEW YORK • It was a bitter pill to swallow for Roseanne Barr (above) after ABC cancelled her hit sitcom over her racist tweets.

On Wednesday, she attributed her lack of judgment in the incident to her taking of sleeping pill Ambien.

That prompted a swift retort from drugmaker Sanofi, which said: "While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication."

Barr is not the first celebrity to claim that Ambien can have an impact on behaviour.

Rapper Eminem, for example, had once called Ambien a "memory eraser", saying it made him forget "five years" of his life.

On Wednesday, the blame game also had United States President Donald Trump taking a swipe at ABC, which had axed sitcom Roseanne the day before, after Barr compared former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett to an ape.

Ms Jarrett revealed that Mr Bob Iger, head of ABC parent company Disney, had called to tell her about the ditching of the show.

"Bob Iger... called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that 'ABC does not tolerate comments like those' made by Roseanne Barr," Mr Trump tweeted. "Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologise for the horrible statements made and said about me on ABC.

"Maybe I just didn't get the call?"

Barr, who had apologised for her comments, tried to further repair the damage on Wednesday, tweeting: "I'm not a racist, I never was & I never will be.

"One stupid joke in a lifetime of fighting 4 civil rights 4 all minorities, against networks, studios, at the expense of my nervous system/family/wealth will NEVER b taken from me."

Barr had returned to TV screens in March after a 21-year hiatus with her character recast as a Trump supporter in a rare depiction of working-class life on the US small screen.

The show scored huge ratings and had been renewed for an 11th season following largely positive reviews, including from Mr Trump.

WASHINGTON POST, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2018, with the headline 'Drugmaker hits back at Roseanne'. Print Edition | Subscribe