LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Walt Disney Co’s ABC network canceled the popular U.S. television comedy “Roseanne” on Tuesday after star Roseanne Barr compared a former Obama administration official to an ape in remarks on Twitter.
“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.
In a since-deleted comment on Twitter, Barr wrote that former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett was equivalent to the Islamist political movement “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby.”
Barr, 65, apologized “for making a bad joke” about Jarrett, who is black and was born in Iran to American parents.
“Roseanne” was ABC’s biggest hit of the 2017-2018 season. The show drew an average of 18.7 million viewers, second only to CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” according to Nielsen data through May 20.
Jarrett, through spokesman Jordan Finkelstein, declined to comment.
The original “Roseanne” aired from 1988 to 1997. It featured a blue-collar family, the Conners, with overweight parents struggling to get by and was praised for its realistic portrayal of working-class life.
President Donald Trump has latched onto the show’s huge viewership as evidence that his supporters, which include Barr, want shows that speak to their concerns.
Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Eric Kelsey; Editing by James Dalgleish and Steve Orlofsky