Roseanne Barr Is Our Duke Of The Week

TPM Illustration. Photo by Getty Images/ Vera Anderson
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For those masochists among us who have followed Roseanne Barr’s Twitter timeline over the past seven years, it’d be less-than- jolting to learn the comedian and recently revived sitcom actress tweeted something racist this week.

Since she joined Twitter in 2011, Barr’s timeline has served as a watering hole for conspiracy theorists and racist trolls alike, providing ammo for fringe groups’ arsenals, regardless of political ideology.

A brief overview: Barr has been an enthusiastic propagator of Pizzagate, vehemently asserts that 9-11 was an inside job, has occasionally climbed aboard the vaccine-truther train, regularly promotes anti-Jewish and Holocaust denying tweets, while simultaneously labeling Israel a “Nazi state” and retweeting arguments about Palestinian violence.

Despite this record of unhinged rhetoric, Barr managed to shock the masses (and her ABC bosses) with a clearly racist tweet this week, buried in a thread of conspiratorial comments about members of former President Barack Obama’s administration, who, according to Barr, deployed FBI agents to spy on the former French president.

“muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” she wrote at 2:45 a.m. Tuesday.

The tweet, clearly referencing former Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, was deleted posthaste. But the sitcom star was not fast enough: As is inevitable when celebrities let loose in the Twitterverse, someone had taken a screenshot. The distinctly racist comment about Jarrett, who is African American, went viral by sunrise.

The backlash prompted Barr to tweet an apology (also now deleted) for “making a bad joke about her politics and her looks” and vowing to leave Twitter for good. (She didn’t.)

Within hours of releasing her apparently disingenuous apology, ABC announced it had canceled her self-titled reboot, “Roseanne,” a sitcom about a working-class family in Illinois that originated in the 1980s and was rebooted this year with a new plot involving political themes. (Barr’s character was a Trump supporter, as Barr is in real life, and her sister Jackie voted for Hillary Clinton.)

After the show was cancelled, Barr continued to post defensive tweets and retweets justifying her behavior. She shared a post that suggested she thought Jarrett was white. In a since-deleted tweet she claimed she was “Ambien tweeting” at the time she made the “joke.” (“Racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication,” the manufacturer behind the sleep aid tweeted.) Barr later told followers that their encouragement had inspired her to “do something” to assert her freedom of speech. She ended the day Thursday begging for more followers and requesting “prayers for healing of our divided nation.”

The President, predictably, couldn’t resist the urge to dive in to the political mud slinging. Instead of criticizing ABC for cancelling Barr’s show — of which he was, apparently, a big fan — he used the melee as an excuse to re-up his attacks on the media, posting a less-than-subtle tweet questioning why he hadn’t received an apology from the CEO of Disney for the “HORRIBLE” things said about him on ABC News.

Despite her tumultuous week on Twitter, Roseanne is back at it: Her latest Twitter crusade amplifies anti-Muslim troll Amy Mek’s claims that journalist Luke O’Brien of The Huffington Post was “endangering” her family by writing about them.

For posting a tweet so racist that even Trump couldn’t be bothered to use his 280-character megaphone to defend it outright, Barr is our Duke of the Week.

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