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Disney-ABC Chief Ben Sherwood ‘So Sorry’ for ‘Roseanne’ Staff After Abrupt Cancellation

”In the end, it came down to doing what’s right,“ Sherwood says in memo to staff

Disney-ABC Television Group president Ben Sherwood apologized to the now-unemployed cast and crew of “Roseanne” following the show’s abrupt cancellation Tuesday due to a racially-charged tweet about Valerie Jarrett sent by star Roseanne Barr.

In an internal memo titled “Our Values” sent to ABC staffers Wednesday obtained by TheWrap, Sherwood wrote: “We’re so sorry they were swept up in all of this and we give thanks for their remarkable talents, wish them well, and hope to find another way to work together down the road.”

Sherwood’s message comes after one of the executive producers on the canceled ABC sitcom says he and the show’s other scribes aren’t even sure if they will receive severance pay now that the network won’t be moving forward with the revival’s previously announced Season 11.

“Everybody is still in shock at how quickly this all went down,” Dave Caplan said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter Wednesday.

“It’s unfortunate because the writers did pass on other jobs to take this job and nobody really knows yet what kind of compensation they’re going to get,” Caplan continued. “Everybody is a little bit on edge about how it’s going to turn out. But we all know it’s a wasted opportunity to write more episodes.”

When reached for comment, ABC redirected TheWrap to producer Carsey-Werner, which did not immediately respond.

Late on Tuesday — after the Disney-owned broadcaster canceled “Roseanne” (the No. 1 show on television) — Barr attempted to explain that she was “Ambien tweeting” at 2 a.m. when she wrote about Jarrett. “Guys I did something unforgiveable [sic] so do not defend me. 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.

She also apologized to everyone who lost their job because of her, writing: “Don’t feel sorry for me, guys!!-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. I will be on Joe Rogan’s podcast friday.”

The comedian’s return to Twitter came after she announced earlier in the day she was “leaving” the social media platform following her remark about Jarrett. “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” Barr wrote in response to a Twitter thread about the former adviser to Barack Obama.

The backlash to Barr’s remark was fierce, with ABC putting the kibosh on her show just hours after she tried to make amends with a subsequent apology tweet, in which she said her statement about Jarrett was a “joke” that was “in bad taste.”

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

Barr was dropped by her talent agency, ICM Partners, Tuesday over the remarks, which they found “disgraceful and unacceptable.”

Meanwhile, Viacom pulled “Roseanne” reruns from its Paramount Network, TV Land and CMT channels. Laff digital network is also nixing repeats of the sitcom and Hulu has decided to yank episodes of the revival from the streaming platform.

Read Sherwood’s memo in full below:


Much has been said and written about yesterday’s decision to cancel the Roseanne show. In the end, it came down to doing what’s right and upholding our values of inclusion, tolerance, and civility.

Not enough, however, has been said about the many men and women who poured their hearts and lives into the show and were just getting started on next season. We’re so sorry they were swept up in all of this and we give thanks for their remarkable talents, wish them well, and hope to find another way to work together down the road.

The last 24 hours have also been a powerful reminder of the importance of words in everything we do – online and on the air. And the responsibility of using social media – and all of our programs and platforms – with careful thought, decency and consideration.

Today we move forward, together, full speed.


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