Within hours of posting a racially charged tweet aimed at former Obama administration adviser Valerie Jarrett, actress Roseanne Barr learned that ABC had canceled the popular reboot of her eponymous sitcom.
The comedian’s social media activity grew more furious in the aftermath of that decision as she retweeted comments from supporters — and some critics — while identifying a prescription sleeping pill as a possible explanation for her late-night tirade.
Following multiple apologies for her comment, Barr tweeted that her “unforgivable” comment came after taking Ambien.
“Guys I did something unforgivable so do not defend me,” she wrote in a since deleted tweet, according to the U.K. Daily Mail. “It was 2 in the morning and I was ambien tweeting-it was memorial day too-i went 2 far & do not want it defended-it was egregious Indefensible.”
Her responses to critics grew defensive at times, notably when Twitter users accused her of attempting to blame her bad behavior on the prescription.
“(N)o, i didn’t i blamed myself,” she wrote in response to one such tweet. “(S)top lying. Yes, I have an odd ambien experiences on tweeting late at night-like many other ppl do. I BLAME MYSELF OK? it’s just an explanation not an excuse, Ok, bully?”
Sanofi, the pharmaceutical company that produces Ambien, joined in the response to Barr’s tweet with a corporate statement distancing itself from her behavior.
People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world. While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.
— Sanofi US (@SanofiUS) May 30, 2018
“People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world,” the company said.
In a clear reference to Barr’s tweet, Sanofi US wrote that while “all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”
Her attempt to pass some of the buck to Ambien led to a wide array of parodies from Twitter users citing the drug for their own misdeeds.
guys i did something unforgivable so do not defend me. it was 2 in the morning and i was ambien tweeting when i said KFC is better than Popeye's. i went 2 far. it was egregious indefensible. i made a mistake i wish i hadn't but don't defend it please. ty
— broccoly cowboy (@milked_) May 30, 2018
Among the series of tweets Barr posted on the subject were at least two comments suggesting she did not know Jarrett was black when describing her as the child of “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes.”
The first of several apologies came amid rapidly rising backlash prior to ABC’s decision to cancel “Roseanne.”
“I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans,” she wrote. “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.”
Show consultant Wanda Sykes announced she would leave the show prior to its cancellation. Actress Sara Gilbert issued a rebuke of the comments posted by her on-screen mother.
“Roseanne’s recent comments about Valerie Jarrett, and so much more, are abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our cast and crew or anyone associated with our show,” Gilbert wrote. “I am disappointed in her actions to say the least.”
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