Roseanne Was Forced To Apologize After Tweeting A Racist "Joke" About An Obama Adviser

by Lani Seelinger
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Actress Roseanne Barr has placed herself squarely in the middle of the culture wars of the Trump administration. She's taken a strongly pro-Trump stance, but it's not just conservative political opinions that she's expressed. On Tuesday, Roseanne Barr tweeted a racist, Islamophobic slur at a former Obama advisor, before deleting it and then apologizing.

“Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” Barr wrote, The Hill reported. She was reportedly referring to former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, a black woman who was born in Iran. The Root wrote that Barr was responding to a series of tweets claiming that Jarrett had helped hide Obama administration secrets. She posted the tweet on Tuesday morning, and then blowback forced her to quickly delete it and write two apologies.

"I apologize. I am now leaving Twitter," Barr wrote first. Five minutes later, she followed it up with a fuller apology.

"I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans. I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks. I should have known better. Forgive me-my joke was in bad taste," Barr wrote before taking at least a short break from her very active Twitter account.

Referring to Barr's tweet, Islamic educator Qasim Rashid wrote on Twitter, "Where Roseanne peddles anti-Muslim bigotry and racism by calling Valerie Jarrett an 'ape baby.' But please tell me more about Roseanne's show 'confronting' her own Islamophobia?"

Rashid was referring to a recent episode of Roseanne summarized by the Lily, in which Roseanne and her family stereotyped their Muslim neighbors. The Lily highlighted one line in the show, in which Roseanne the character tells the Muslim characters, “We don’t hate you; we’re scared of you.”

"White privilege is being an open racist & Islamophobe & still getting a prime time TV spot," Rashid wrote, in the same tweet.

According to AOL, Roseanne's slur toward Jarrett wasn't a new one. Jarrett was a frequent subject of right-wing blogs, AOL explained, which claimed that she was trying to turn the United States into a more Islamic country. In 2015, Snopes weighed in on the claim that Jarrett had said that she wanted "to help change America to be a more Islamic country," rating the claim as entirely false. However, Barr's assertion that Jarrett had any connection to the Muslim Brotherhood alludes to the same set of rumors about the former Obama adviser.

Before announcing that she would leave Twitter on Tuesday morning, her Islamophobic tweet about Valerie Jarrett wasn't even her only recent tweet that made waves. She also tweeted about Chelsea Clinton, calling her "Chelsea Soros Clinton" in reference to George Soros, the billionaire liberal philanthropist, founder of the pro-democratic Open Society Foundations, and frequent target of the right wing. Clinton, then, responded with her typical understated Twitter bite.

"Good morning Roseanne - my given middle name is Victoria," Clinton wrote on Twitter on Tuesday morning. "I imagine George Soros’s nephews are lovely people. I’m just not married to one. I am grateful for the important work @OpenSociety does in the world. Have a great day!"

Barr also apologized to Clinton, although it appears to have been more tongue-in-cheek than her apology about the racist tweet. "I'm sorry-Chelsea Clinton IS NOT married to a nephew of George Soros-i apologize for the mistake!" Barr wrote. However, she then followed that up by posting a link to a Snopes article about the father of Clinton's husband along with an all-caps caption: "CORRECTION: CHELSEA CLINTON IS NOT MARRIED TO A SOROS NEPHEW. HER HUSBAND IS THE SON OF A CORRUPT SENATOR, SO SORRY!"

So far, she has not tweeted since saying that she would be leaving Twitter. It remains to be seen if she will keep to that pledge.