Roseanne Barr is evidently having a lousy summer.
Ever since she was booted from her own show at the end of May, the former queen of TV comedy (at least for a few weeks last spring) has been flailing away in occasional tweets, random public statements and podcast interviews -- and now, personal pronouncements delivered via YouTube.
It is one of the oddest spectacles in current media. You would think the effort Roseanne is making to speak out from her pop culture exile would be part of a carefully crafted strategy to defend and explain herself, and also to humble herself in the hopes that the “public” (as they were once called) might forgive her -- perhaps not immediately, but sometime in the not-too-distant future.
But alas, that's just not the Roseanne way. Instead, her public pronouncements, even when she manages to deliver them calmly, make her seem unglued -- which makes ABC's decision to sever its ties with her even more understandable.
Her initial offense aside (the tweet in late May when she suggested that Valerie Jarrett, an African-American aide to President Obama, was descended from apes), the odds are that she and ABC would have locked horns eventually in any number of other ways -- particularly as she gained power from the success of her relaunched sitcom if it had continued into this fall (with her in it).
Of course, before the tweetstorm hit the fan in late May, ABC was 100% behind her, since the new “Roseanne” had recently emerged as the most notable success story of the 2017-18 TV season.
Still, judging from what Roseanne is saying and doing this summer, ABC would have really had its hands full with her as time went on.
In her latest salvo on YouTube just this week (from which the above screen-grab was made), Roseanne takes up just over a minute of time to face a camera and state the “real reason” she was fired from ABC: Her support of Donald Trump.
“Hi, this is Roseanne Barr and I'd like to welcome you to my own studio, where I’m able to speak for myself to my fellow and sister Americans without the filter of the biased media,” Roseanne says, sounding as if she is auditioning for a role on Fox News.
“This was my statement from the very beginning, and it will continue to be forever because it is the truth,” she averred. “When ABC called and asked me to explain my ‘egregious and unforgivable tweet,’ I told them I thought Valerie Jarrett was white. And I also said I am willing to go on ‘The View,’ ‘Jimmy Kimmel’ or whatever other show you want me to go on and explain that to my audience.
“Now, instead what happened was, about 40 minutes after that, my show was canceled before even one advertiser pulled out, and I was labeled a racist. Why, you ask? Well, the answer is simple. It’s because I voted for Donald Trump and that is not allowed in Hollywood.” The video then fades to black.
She is not entirely wrong about a Hollywood bias against those who support Donald Trump and/or harbor right-leaning political viewpoints
But if there is one thing Hollywood cares about more than political points of view, it is money. And as long as Roseanne and her show were in a position to make money for ABC, the network could not really have cared less about her pro-Trump leanings.
On the contrary, the people who run ABC might not agree with her politics, but they were smart enough to realize her politics is what drove the show's phenomenal success. So they let it be -- until Roseanne issued her Jarrett tweet.
More revealing than this most recent YouTube video was one Roseanne posted a few days earlier, on Friday. In this video, she was seen in the same studio, in the same dress, talking to an offscreen producer or director in a way that makes you wonder if this particular video was supposed to be posted.
In this video, Roseanne suddenly faced the camera and screamed, about Jarrett: “I thought the b---- was white!” This particular piece of video speaks volumes about why a Roseanne-ABC link-up was probably doomed.
The Roseanne summer rant tour continues this week with her first high-profile interview since ABC kicked her off her show. She is scheduled to be interviewed on Fox News Channel by Sean Hannity on Thursday (July 26).