Comedian Roseanne Barr’s statement on a podcast that no Jews died in the Holocaust has created a social media storm.
During the June 14 episode of This Past Weekend, a podcast hosted by fellow comedian Theo Von, the Jewish Barr delved into the topic of the 2020 election and the concept of “truth” in the United States.
“Nobody wants to hear the real truth,” began Barr, before adding that social media guidelines have “mandated” what the truth is or isn’t.
“And don’t you dare say anything, that’s where you’ll be off YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other ones,” she continued. “There’s such a thing as the truth and facts and we have to stick to it.”
Then, apparently, to emphasize the point, she said, “Nobody died in the Holocaust. That’s the truth. It should happen. Six million Jews should die right now cause they cause all the problems in the world. But it never happened. But it never happened – Mandated.” These remarks were both shocking and deeply troubling.
Barr later revealed that she herself identifies as Jewish, which adds an even more perplexing dimension to her controversial statements. The actress started her career in stand-up comedy before gaining recognition for her work on the television sitcom Roseanne in the 1980s and the 1990s. She won an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her work on the show.
Barr's comments spark uproar
Barr, who claimed she was fired from ABC’s Roseanne reboot in 2018 for voting for former president Donald Trump, used the election results as an example of the “mandated truth” when talking with Von.
She was actually fired over a racist tweet about former president Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett.
Barr’s remarks about the Holocaust have drawn significant backlash and condemnation from various quarters.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League responded in a tweet: “Sarcasm or not, Roseanne Barr’s comments about Jews and the Holocaust are reprehensible and irresponsible. This isn’t funny. And shame on Theo Von for letting it go unchallenged and instead diving into conspiracy theories about Jews and Hollywood.”
Sarcasm or not, Roseanne Barr’s comments about Jews and the Holocaust are reprehensible and irresponsible. This isn’t funny. And shame on Theo Von for letting it go unchallenged and instead diving into conspiracy theories about Jews and Hollywood.— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) June 27, 2023
Von also responded: “This Roseanne Barr clip was sarcasm folks. A clip taken out of a long sarcastic rant she had during our chat. Can we not recognize sarcasm anymore?”
The comedian’s son, Jake Pentland, disparaged those upset by the remarks, telling TMZ that America had bigger problems to focus on, and that “We are embarrassed that people are stupid enough not to recognize Roseanne is being sarcastic.”
“Nobody died in the Holocaust. It SHOULD happen. Six millions Jews SHOULD die right now, because they cause all the problems in the world.” Is anyone surprised that sicko Roseanne Barr supports Donald Trump?pic.twitter.com/I4szhQmDT1— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) June 27, 2023
This isn’t the first time Barr has publicly talked about the Holocaust, and her previous comments indicate that Barr’s actual sentiments are likely antithetical to what the clip on Von’s podcast has led people to believe.
In April 2023, Barr spoke with Les Glassman, in an interview posted on YouTube, about growing up with Orthodox grandparents in a “hotbed of PTSD” in the “Jewish shtetl” of Salt Lake City. She told Glassman that she had an extraordinary connection with Holocaust survivors, who had suffered “unspeakable things” in her community and had “numbers on their arms,” and that she felt a duty to make them laugh and bring them joy.
She also said she was traumatized as a child from watching the trial of Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann. “When I was three years old, my grandmother and her friends would watch the Eichmann trial. It was on television, and they would insist that I watch it too,” she said. “So that affected me in many, many deep psychological ways, and they would also tell stories of horror.
“And the pictures I saw, they showed me, and they said, ‘She should see, all Jewish children should see what they did to us.’”
In July 2009, Barr posed as Adolf Hitler in a feature for the satirical Jewish publication Heeb magazine (now online only) called “That Oven Feelin’.” The Nazi theme was her suggestion, and featured her with a Hitler mustache and swastika armband, holding a tray of burnt gingerbread man cookies the article referred to as “burnt Jew cookies.” The magazine’s publisher said the photos were taken for satire and were not done for shock value. Barr said she was “making fun of Hitler, not his victims.”
Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.