ABC Cancels Roseanne After Star Goes On Racist Rant
ABC canceled its hit sitcom "Roseanne" on Tuesday after the show's biggest star, Roseanne Barr, went on a racist Twitter rant.
"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.
Disney CEO Bob Iger added on Twitter that "there was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing."
The cancellation stunned Hollywood. Industry veterans said they've never seen anything quite like it. The revival of "Roseanne" premiered to huge ratings just three months ago. Pre-production was already underway on a second season, which was scheduled for Tuesdays at 8 p.m. this fall.
But now the show is over. ABC was planning to air a repeat of "Roseanne" Tuesday night, but a rerun of "The Middle" will air in its place.
Barr's talent agency, ICM Partners, also dropped her on Tuesday. "What she wrote is antithetical to our core values, both as individuals and as an agency," the agency said in a statement. "Consequently, we have notified her that we will not represent her. Effective immediately, Roseanne Barr is no longer a client."
Barr had no immediate comment on Tuesday afternoon.
Barr has a long history of controversial tweets, including posts about pro-Trump conspiracy theories. But even by her low standards, Tuesday's remarks were egregious.
"Beyond the pale" is how one Disney (DIS) source put it.
In a series of tweets, Barr attacked Valerie Jarrett, Chelsea Clinton and George Soros.
ABC went silent for several hours as it decided what to do. While it took some time to announce the decision, executives pretty quickly decided to boot the reboot.
When asked why ABC ultimately decided to cancel the show, a Disney source said, "It's a question of right and wrong. And it's a question of our company's values."
Reactions to the decision were overwhelming and largely positive.
Congressman John Lewis thanked ABC, saying that "There is not any room in our society for racism or bigotry."
"Some things apparently are more important than money," even for a network like ABC, "and that's heartening," CNN's Van Jones said on the air.
But there will be ripple effects from the cancellation. At least 200 jobs will be affected, according to industry sources.
Before ABC pulled the plug, some of Barr's colleagues had publicly rebuked her.
Actress Emma Kenney, who played Roseanne's granddaughter on the reboot, tweeted that she was in the process of quitting the show when she found out that it had been canceled.
About an hour and a half before the cancellation was announced one of the show's consulting producers, Wanda Sykes, said she was done with it. "I will not be returning to @RoseanneOnABC," Sykes tweeted.
And Sara Gilbert, who plays Barr's daughter on the ABC sitcom, tweeted that Barr's comments are "abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our cast and crew or anyone associated with our show."
Gilbert added: "This is incredibly sad and difficult for all of us, as we've created a show that we believe in, are proud of, and that audiences love — one that is separate and apart from the opinions and words of one cast member."