Roseanne Barr said she’s “lost everything” after posting a racist tweet about former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, but said she regretted the actions that made her a “hate magnet” in a tearful podcast interview released Saturday.
Barr spoke with her friend, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, shortly after the reboot of her eponymous show “Roseanne” was canceled by ABC over a tweet in which she compared Jarrett, who is black, to an ape. The actress said the decision was an “embarrassing mistake” and apologized for her comment, although she insisted her words were misconstrued.
“I apologize to anyone who thought, or felt offended and who thought that I meant something that I, in fact, did not mean,” Barr said. “It was my own ignorance, and there’s no excuse for that ignorance.”
“I’m a lot of things, a loud mouth and all that stuff,” Barr said later, struggling to speak between sobs. “But I’m not stupid for God’s sake. I never would have wittingly called any black person and say 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’m just so sorry that I was so unclear and stupid.”
Barr said once again that she had been taking the sleeping pill Ambien that night and said when she wrote the message about Jarrett she didn’t realize her target was African American.
“I don’t excuse it. I horribly regret it. Are you kidding?” Barr said. “I lost everything, and I regretted it before I lost everything. And I said to God, ‘I am willing to accept whatever consequences this brings because I know I’ve done wrong. I’m willing to accept what the consequences are,’ and I do, and I have. But they don’t ever stop. They don’t accept my apology or explanation. And I’ve made myself a hate magnet.”
ABC, which canceled “Roseanne” just hours after Barr’s tweet, announced a new spinoff last week, tentatively titled “The Conners.” The show will air in the fall without Barr, who will receive no financial involvement in the series. The actress said she agreed to back the deal to save the jobs of those on set.
“I agreed to the settlement in order that 200 jobs of beloved cast and crew could be saved, and I wish the best for everyone involved,” Barr said in a statement.
Barr noted in her interview with Boteach that executives at ABC had asked her to stop using Twitter when they brought her show back to air.
“When ABC hired me they asked me to get off Twitter, cause I’m always saying things, right?” Barr recalled. “And I told them, I promise I will get off Twitter, they said, cause you’ll shoot yourself in the foot if you’re on there. And my kids took it away from me, and the whole thing cause they said, ‘Mom, you’ve got to stop.’”
Barr said at the time of that she’d tried to reach out to Jarrett to apologize for her comments, but hadn’t been able to get a hold of her.
“Sometimes you just say the wrong words and I should have known better,” Barr said. “I shouldn’t have done it. I wish to hell I wouldn’t have done it or be more clear with a few letters. I should have been better, and I wasn’t. And I caused a lot of pain.”