Roseanne Barr spoke out about losing her ABC show in a phone interview posted Sunday with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, saying that she “made herself a hate magnet” with the racially charged tweet that led to her self-titled show’s cancellation.
“It’s really hard to say this but, I didn’t mean what they think I meant, and that’s what’s so painful,” Barr said of her May 29 tweet describing former Barack Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett as if “Muslim brotherhood & Planet of the apes had a baby.”
“I have to face that it hurt people,” Barr told the rabbi. “When you hurt people, even unwillingly, there’s no excuse. I don’t want to run off and blather on with excuses. But I apologize to anyone who thought, or felt offended and who thought that I meant something that I, in fact, did not mean. It was my own ignorance, and there’s no excuse for that ignorance.”
Less than 24 hours after sending that tweet about Jarrett, ABC canceled Barr’s TV show “Roseanne,” which had been the network’s top rated show this past season. Shortly after, ICM Partners dropped Barr as their client, and reruns of “Roseanne” have been pulled from TV Land, CMT and Paramount Network.
“I lost everything, and I regretted it before I lost everything,” Barr said. “And I said to God, ‘I am willing to accept whatever consequences this brings because I know I’ve done wrong. … But they don’t ever stop. They don’t accept my apology, or explanation. And I’ve made myself a hate magnet.”
Barr was interviewed by Boteach two days after the show’s cancellation, but it wasn’t posted until Sunday on the rabbi’s Soundcloud account. You can listen to the full interview below. She can be heard sobbing throughout the interview, saying she had to confront what she said and how people responded to it.
“I’m a lot of things, a loud mouth and all that stuff,” Barr cried. “But I’m not stupid, for God’s sake. I never would have wittingly called any black person, [I would never had said] they are a monkey. I just wouldn’t do that. I didn’t do that. And people think that I did that and it just kills me. I didn’t do that. And if they do think that, I’m just so sorry that I was so unclear and stupid. I’m very sorry.”
This past week, ABC announced that “Roseanne” would be replaced with a spinoff called “The Conners,” which would see the original show’s cast except Barr return. During the interview, Barr spoke about the conversation between her and ABC execs about the tweet, noting that the network had told her to not use Twitter when she signed on to do “Roseanne.”
“When ABC hired me they asked me to get off Twitter, ’cause I’m always saying things, right?” she told the rabbi, adding that they were concerned she’d “shoot [her]self in the foot.” Her kids eventually stepped in and said, “Mom, you have to stop.”
As for Jarrett, Barr said she sent a tweet to her asking for forgiveness, explaining that the initial tweet against Jarrett was about her stance on the Palestine-Israel conflict, and said in the interview that she thought Jarrett was white.
“I tried to get her phone number because even though I don’t agree with her — even when we really disagree with someone because they’re hurting us and our families — we still have to treat them with human dignity. And that’s what I wanted to apologize to her for… Sometimes you just say the wrong words and I should have known better. I shouldn’t have done it.”
Barr also expressed regret for the impact the show’s cancellation had on the cast and crew.
“I caused pain to the two hundred out-of-work actors that I loved. And the crew and writers. I feel so bad that they gave me another chance and I blew it. But I did it. And what can I do now except say of course, I’m not a racist, I’m an idiot.”