(photo credit: COURTESY YES)
LOS ANGELES - Walt Disney Co's ABC network on Tuesday canceled the popular US television comedy "Roseanne" after star Roseanne Barr sparked outrage by comparing a black former Obama administration official to an ape in remarks on Twitter.
The show, a revival of the 1990s hit "Roseanne," was ABC's most widely watched show for the TV season that ended last week, drawing more than 18 million viewers on average each week.
"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 Chief Executive Bob Iger added on Twitter: "There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing."
In a since deleted comment on Twitter, Barr compared former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, 61, to an ape. She wrote that if the Islamist political movement "muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby = vj."
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.
Disney shares, which had fallen on a disappointing debut for the latest "Star Wars" movie, were down 2.5 percent at $99.59 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Markets were down sharply overall on concerns about political instability in Italy.
An outspoken supporter of Israel, Barr said at year's Jerusalem Post
Conference in New York: “I want to move to Israel and run for prime minister,”
she told interviewer Dana Weiss. “I do have that fantasy. If God calls me, I’ll go.”
Adding: “I want to make aliya, I do, and before all the stuff is sold – all the real estate,” she said. “I still have this fantasy of being an old Jewish lady living in the Jewish homeland... I want to buy a farm there and maybe bring my family.”
Perhaps this will free up her schedule to follow that fantasy. Amy Spiro contributed to this report